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What Makes It Worthy

David Paul Kuhn felt inspired to write a book about a topic many have brushed aside.  As technological rapidly changes, automation, computers and robotics are taking away millions of jobs once held by working men in America.  If modern advances in driverless vehicles continues to progress, another 3 million truck drivers could be in danger of losing their long held careers.  In his 2015 book, What Makes It Worthy, Kuhn details the importance men derive from working.  If men can’t provide for their families, a sense of worth is lost, creating a chain reaction that negativity impacts future generations.  The goal of this book is to illustrate the worthiness of maintaining a job.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, Philippians 4:8.

The term worthy refers to abilities that merit recognition.  Whether you have a certain job title such as a doctor or demonstrate impressive qualities, others will quickly take notice.  Careers, fields of work or occupations place individuals within a specific social status.  Entry level positions will place you within the lower class.  Promotions into lower management will elevate you into the middle class.  Meanwhile, entrepreneurs, exceptional sales and higher degrees can lift some hard workers into the upper class.  However, on the way to the top, some participate in illegal, shady or ungodly methods.  Thus, pursuing noble causes outside of any career provides its own sense of accomplishment.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, Galatians 2:20.

When I first got married, I always felt inferior while talking to other groups of men.  While it didn’t help living in an affluent suburb west of Chicago, I didn’t possess the DNA to become rich and wealthy.  My relationship with Christ didn’t mesh with the ways of the world.  Thus, I became confused, unable to find my place in this world until becoming a high school Bible teacher and golf coach.  Six years have passed since this position was taken away from me, placing me back where I was before.  Nonetheless, if you want to experience a sense of worth, begin with Jesus, Romans 10:9-10.  From here, the Holy Spirit will guide you to the place where you need to be, Galatians 5:25.  Until then, keep praying until clarity and self worth is restored.

by Jay Mankus




We Found Each Other in the Dark

Tom Hanks plays the head cell block guard on death row in the 1999 film The Green Mile.  During his interactions with convicted murderers, one prisoner fits the physical description, but internally something is different.  Michael Clarke Duncan plays John Coffey, an intimidating man who possesses the gift of healing.  After witnessing 2 minor miracles, Tom Hanks convinces his entire staff to risk their jobs in order to save a woman dying from cancer.  James Cromwell, Hank’s boss in the film, is married to Patricia Clarkson who is on the verge of death.  After a powerful healing scene, Clarkson talks to Duncan revealing a dream she had during her ordeal with cancer.  This vision refers to finding each other in the dark.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 1:5-7.

The Bible uses the imagery of darkness to refer to moments or periods of time individuals are separated from God.  One of Jesus’ disciples associates being in God’s presence with fellowship.  As a personal eye witness to Jesus’ life on earth for 3 years, John testifies to the fact that Jesus was the real deal, full of love and light.  While most people flee from the lost, lonely and social outcasts, Jesus built his ministry around comforting, healing and waiting until desperate souls were touched by a miracle.  Jesus went into the darkness to help those unable to escape on their own.

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

Human nature creates a curiosity within human hearts.  Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, even if you have been taught right from wrong, some won’t stop until they taste forbidden fruit.  For those who follow longings, lust and temptation into darkness, returning back where you came from isn’t as easy as it seems.  Enlightenment has a way of enticing people, creating a hunger for more.  Despite the presence of God’s light in small portions of this world, darkness seems to growing more and more by the day.  This expansion is causing many to stumble, stuck in darkness together.  May the light of Christ pierce through this darkness, John 1:5, so that those who unable to find their way out will be united once again into fellowship with God.

by Jay Mankus


Higher Education?

Lake Ingle was a typical teenager, hoping to pursue higher education after graduating from high school.  Initially wanting to play sports in college, Ingle choose Indiana University of Pennsylvania to pursue this dream.  However, after Lake realized his athletic abilities weren’t good enough to compete at this level of competition, Ingle decided to turn his attention toward academics.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh, Genesis 2:24.

Now a senior, this religious studies major made national news for being kicked out of class recently.  During a Christianity 481: Self, Sin and Salvation lecture, Ingle became offended by something professor Alison Downie taught.  After a 20 minute video on mansplaining, sexism from men and male privilege, professor Downie asked students for their thoughts. When none of the women spoke up, Lake stood up for his beliefs which are supported by the Bible, claiming there are only 2 genders.  For acting upon his conviction, Lake Ingle has been barred from this class, citing the class disruption policy at IUP.

He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22.

A little over 20 years ago, I moved from the mid-west to seek a masters in theological studies on the east coast.  During a visit to one of my potential seminaries, I meet with the dean of academics of a school in Pennsylvania.  During this conversation, I interrupted this woman briefly to reply to  a shocking comment.  Instead of studying the Bible in its proper historical context, this school believed in allowing each student to come up with different conclusions on their own.  In the other words, there is no absolute truth.  Whenever I hear reports from institutions of higher learning like at IUP, this crisis of faith is a by product of the elimination of absolute truths.  Unless this trend is reversed, the term higher education will merely be a word, not reality.

by Jay Mankus

Losing Touch with Reality

There are moments in life where you will be in high demand.  Depending upon the emergency, project or situation, people will turn to you for advice.  To avoid any impure motives, pride or selfish ambitions, Jesus developed a morning routine.  This spiritual discipline involved getting up early, withdrawing to a quiet place and praying to God.  As a way to clear his mind, Jesus meditated, listened in silence and poured out his heart to God.  This daily exercise prevented Jesus from losing touch with reality.

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there, Mark 1:35.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Jesus’ disciples.  Caught up in the instant rock star status of their leader, it appears the disciples were afraid to tell fans no.  After Jesus healed his mother in law, Peter sought to please people, hoping everyone could experience the joy his own family felt.  Subsequently, Peter became like Jesus’ agent, booking appointments for future healings and miracles.  When Jesus was located the next day, Peter had to scrap his plan as God gave Jesus a clear vision for the future.

Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him, 37 and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!” 38 He replied, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so I may preach there also; that is why I came [from the Father].” Mark 1:36-38.

Recently, I have been so consumed with my own dreams, goals and objectives that I have lost touch with reality.  I guess I became so focused, fixated on what I wanted that I haven’t taken the time to be still and meet with God.  Sure, I’ve had my morning devotions and prayer, but as soon as I was finished its back to what I want to do.  This is a dangerous place to find yourself, blinded by selfish ambition.  If you want to avoid making the same mistake that Peter and I have made, take a step back, find and quiet place and listen to the Lord.  If you make this a weekly practice, you will be less likely to lose touch with reality.

by Jay Mankus

The Taming of the Cravings

One of William Shakespeare’s well known comedies is the Taming of the Shrew.  Written in the early 1590’s, this play has been adapted numerous times for stage, screen, opera, ballet, and musical theatre.  While this production highlights a bad-tempered and aggressively assertive woman, the Bible speaks of an another beast with a similar reputation.  According to John, this inner demon feeds off of worldly desires.  Fueled by longings, lust and sensual desires, few people have had success in taming these cravings.

Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world, 1 John 2:15-16.

According to Jesus, the eyes serve as the lamp of the human body, Matthew 6:22-24.  If your eyes are good, fixated on Jesus, Hebrews 12:2, spiritual light will guide your steps.  However, if you allow your eyes to wander, take a second glance and begin to stare at unwholesome sights, darkness will enter your body.  This seemingly innocent act starts a chain reaction that awakens fleshly desires.  Those who indulge in masturbation, pornography and or sex outside of marriage corrupts hearts, souls and minds.

The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever, 1 John 2:17.

The only cure known to the cravings of the sinful nature is pursuing God’s will.  In his Sermon of the Mount, Jesus tells his audience where your heart is, your treasure will be also.  Thus, those who appease earthly cravings will be distracted, focused on satisfying temporary pleasures in life.  The only way to tame this spiritual shrew is by setting your heart and mind on things above, Colossians 3:1-4.  Those who learn to clothe themselves with Christ can overcome the demons of your past.  While this is not an easy process, may the Holy Spirit fill you with discipline, insight and wisdom to tame any unholy craving within you.

by Jay Mankus

Jesus’ Last Will and Testament

A will is a legal document that allows you, among other things, to designate how and to whom your property is distributed.  Prior to the formation of modern companies like Legal Zoom, the Old Testament reveals the inheritance process for Jewish families.  Jewish inheritance customs were linked to family blood lines as detailed in Numbers 27:8-11.  The parable of the Prodigal Son refers to the financial breakdown with the oldest son receiving a greater percentage of wealth.  In the case of Jesus, his clothes were decided by chance, as soldiers cast lots to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy.

So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it will be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture, “They divided My outer clothing among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” 25 So the soldiers did these things.  But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister [Salome], Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, John 19:24-25.

Prior to his death on a cross, Jesus’ mother was the only family member to believe, remaining faithful to the end.  Since his father Joseph died years earlier, Mary was Jesus’ sole concern.  After members of his family referred to him as a crazy man who had lost his mind in Mark 3:21, Jesus embraced those who did the will of his heavenly father.  These are the individuals who Jesus called his family.  Yet, Jesus’ last will and testament was directed to John, handing the care of Mary over to him.  The passage below suggests that Mary moved into John’s house, staying with him until her death.

26 So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother, “[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple (John), “Look! [here is] your mother [protect and provide for her]!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own home, John 19:26-27.

Beyond any possession that you may pass onto family, there is something more valuable.  The legacy that you leave behind will either inspire or deflate your children, family and spouse.  This mark can’t be faked as time will reveal the true nature of your character.  In a sense, Jesus’ legacy was carried on by 11 disciples and first century apostles.  Delegating, preparing and teaching these individuals has kept the good news of Jesus Christ alive today.  As you draw near the grave, may the Holy Spirit prompt you to develop a sense of urgency so that your faith will be passed on to the next generation.

by Jay Mankus

A Story of Persistence: The Untold Story of Tabassco Sauce

Avery Island is located on the Vermilion Bay, 3 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.  In the 1840’s, former Maryland banker Edmund McIIhenny moved to this island.  Hoping to live off the land, McIIhenny tried to plant various crops.  Unfortunately, the salt dome underneath the soil only yielded peppers.  During a famine in the 1850’s, most of the residents left, abandoning this island.  Trying to figure out what to do with all of these pepper plants, Edmund began to experiment.  By the 1860’s, McIIhenny developed a hot sauce which tasted good on everything that he eat.  Initially, collecting discarded cologne bottles left behind, Edmund shared his discovery with family and friends.  By 1868 Tabassco Sauce was marketed and sold to the public, using bottles from a New Orleans glass supplier.  Five generations later, Tabassco Sauce remains a household name across the country and throughout the world.

But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came on Elisha 16and he said, “This is what the LORD says: I will fill this valley with pools of water, 2 Kings 3:15-16.

During the reign of Jehoshaphat, Israel faced a similar famine.  Unsure what to do, the king brought in a reliable prophet to provide insight on what to do.  After requesting a musician for inspiration, Elisha received a clear message from God.  However, this command didn’t make sense initially, “dig a ditch.”  Perhaps Jehoshaphat asked for more specific instructions, but the gist of this advice was to start digging in the desert.  While Avery Island contains a salt dome, this desert floor revealed underground springs like Palm Springs, California.  This vital resource provided ample water for animals, cattle and everyone in the kingdom.  Instead of abandoning this region, God provided for Israel in their time of need.

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you, Luke 6:38.

According to Jesus’ little brother, God uses trials to test the faith of human beings, James 1:2-6.  While most people talk a good game, you never know how you are going to react until you are thrust into turmoil.  Edmund McIIhenny could have left Avery Island like many of his former neighbors.  Jehoshaphat could have surrendered to an enemy in exchange for food and water.  Yet, both men persisted, sticking things out until each figured out and completed their purpose on earth.  McIIhenny waited almost 30 years before he realized why he came to Avery Island.  As you read this blog, maybe you are experiencing your own arid season, frustrated and on the verge of quitting.  Before you make any decision, remember the promise of James 1:12 so that a steadfast spirit will carry you on until you experience the fruits of persistence.

by Jay Mankus