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Author Archives: expressyourself4him

It’s Time to Bring Back an Ancient Tradition

In ancient days, tearing your clothes was a common expression upon receiving news of a tragic event. The Old Testament contains several examples of ripping off garments, religious leaders tearing their cloaks or putting a sackcloth over heads after witnessing death, shock or shame. This unusual course of action is first recorded in Genesis 37:29, “when Reuben found out that his brothers had sold Joseph off as a slave, he was shocked, ripping his clothes apart in disgust.” This response serves as an act of disappointment to demonstrate how far souls have deviated from God.

While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, 19 And behold, there came a great [whirlwind] from the desert, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you. 20 Then Job arose and rent his robe and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshiped 21 And said, Naked (without possessions) came I [into this world] from my mother’s womb, and naked (without possessions) shall I depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed (praised and magnified in worship) be the name of the Lord! – Job 1:18-21

Instead of having an emotional outburst, making a scene in public or ranting on social media, Job came to a painful reality upon receiving the news of his children’s deaths. Human beings came into this world naked and will leave in a similar manner, returning to the dust of the earth. Job 1:21 inspired the Catholic tradition known as Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. From dust man was created and to dust mankind will return. This is why Catholics receive ash on their foreheads once a year at masses across the country and throughout the world.

But he who is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to put on the [sacred] garments, shall not let the hair of his head hang loose or rend his clothes [in mourning], Leviticus 21:10.

According to Moses, the only member of the Jewish community who was not allowed to tear their clothes was the high priest. Everyone else was able to express their displeasure and frustrations of others in this manner. However, this doesn’t mean you should expose yourself in public like the woman in New Hampshire who voted topless after the political shirt she was wearing went against voting rules. My generation was taught if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t open your mouth. Thus, what I am suggesting is to replace daily tirades with the ancient practice of an inward and upward release of emotions.

by Jay Mankus

Let Light Shine Out of Darkness

The term light appears 272 times in the Bible. Meanwhile, there are 433 instances where light is eluded to as being “a lamp unto our feet,” Psalm 119:105. Beyond the physical element of light, the Bible uses light as a spiritual illumination of the truth. Thus, when the apostle Paul writes about letting light shine out of darkness, truth stands out in a dark and fallen world.

For God Who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts so as [to beam forth] the Light for the illumination of the knowledge of the majesty and glory of God [as it is manifest in the Person and is revealed] in the face of Jesus Christ (the Messiah), 2 Corinthians 4:6.

The expression to beam forth suggests that this light has supernatural powers. Instead of illuminating darkness so that human eyes can see, God’s light shines straight into our hearts, Romans 10:9-10. Similar to Jesus’ analogy in his Sermon on the Mount, spiritual light is designed to shine within your house and throughout your city, Matthew 5:14-16. According to Jesus, shining light via actions are more persuasive than words.

However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves, 2 Corinthians 4:7.

Jesus foretold of a time when you could worship God face to face, not just in a temple on the Sabbath. The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in a letter to the Church at Corinth, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. Paul compares human bodies to a spiritual temple. While there are always glimpses of darkness within every soul, Matthew 6:23, eyes are the lamp of bodies. If your eyes remain stay focused on God, light can still shine out of darkness.

by Jay Mankus

Acts that Men Hide

One who aids or accompanies someone in nefarious actions is considered a partner in crime. Another idiom uses the expression, “it takes two to tango” based upon the 1952 song by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning. Meanwhile, Theodore Edward Hook first used the saying “thick as thieves” in his 1833 book The Parson’s Daughter. Each of these slang terms suggest that when confronted, guilty parties will hide their sinful acts due to shame.

We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience, 2 Corinthians 4:2.

During a visit to the region of Galatia, the apostle Paul was made aware of a religious sect that infiltrated the church. Perhaps unwilling to let go of their Jewish heritage, the Judaizers began to add requirements to salvation. The art of deceit involves persuasion, using former practices to form new beliefs. According to Galatians 2:11-13, the Judaizers were so convincing that even Barnabas and Peter were led astray.

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth? This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church], Galatians 5:7-9.

Frustrated by this charade, Paul wanted to know why members of the Church at Galatia began to withdraw from Gentiles. This form of legalism was poisoning the message of the gospel. Likely referencing Deuteronomy 4:2, Judaizers added and subtracted from the apostles teaching. When caught in the act of wrong doing, most try to hide, following in the footsteps of Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:7-8. If you want to avoid a similar fate, look for the way out of temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13 to find victory; not defeat.

by Jay Mankus

A Penny is Worthless Until Someone Begins to Value It

A slight defect in the 1995 penny went unnoticed until an inspector realized that “In God We Trust” was slightly blurred. This caused the mint to shut down production until this issue was fixed as these coins received a double die. For those of you who have an area in your house or vehicle to collect spare change, you might want to check if you possess one of these flawed coins. The latest retail value of these rare pennies is $255.

Or what woman, having ten [silver] drachmas [each one equal to a day’s wages], if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and look carefully and diligently until she finds it? – Luke 15:8

In recent years, there is a movement to eliminate pennies. One reason for this change is due to the cost of production. Each modern penny costs 1.5 cents to make which results in a losing proposition. United States Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizonia introduced the Price Rounding Act of 1989, H.R. 3761, to eliminate the penny in cash transactions, rounding to the nearest nickel in 1990. Thirty years later, the penny has survived for now.

And when she has found it, she summons her [women] friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the silver coin which I had lost, Luke 15:9.

The parable of the Lost Coin refers to a sentimental item that is misplaced within a house. One scholar eludes to this lost piece of silver as a former wedding gift. Whatever the reason for this perceived value, a frantic search begins, scanning and sweeping every area of her home. When a coin is given a special value, the owner does not rest until this is found. Thus, the next time you discover a penny lying on the floor, you never knew how one coin can alter your perspective. Thus, give thanks when a lost item is found.

by Jay Mankus

Obscured and Covered Up

Every day there are chances and opportunities to encounter God. Yet, busyness, other priorities, and a lack of time conceal most people from seeing individuals sent by God. Instead of stopping to chat, entertain or engage these divine messengers, blinders prevent most from even saying hello. Perhaps, the apostle Paul witnessed a similar pattern in the first century as spiritual truth was obscured and covered up.

But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost, 2 Corinthians 4:3.

Paul blames this on the god of this age, Ephesians 2:2, who roams the earth as the ruler of the air. This fallen angel is not a fictional character in the latest Sci-fi film. Rather, Lucifer is real, using the same tactics that led Adam and Eve to break God’s only rule in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:16-17. When you allow subtle compromises to bend your belief system, it doesn’t take long for bad habits to become full blown sin, James 1:13-15.

For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Despite growing up in the Roman Catholic Church, the Gospel of Jesus was obscured and covered up. Church was a religious exercise for me, void of any personal relationship. Attending church quickly became a chore, not a forum to worship a living God. After 15 years of being close, my coach and mentor Ken Horne unveiled to me what Christianity was all about. Following a Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s event, my eyes were opened as I began my journey in faith, Romans 10:9-10. May this blog inspire you to unmask blinded minds of those whom you love today.

by Jay Mankus

More than Just Work Ethic

Work ethic is the principle that hard work is intrinsically virtuous. Protestant work ethic was brought to New England during the 17th and 18th when Puritans arrived from Great Britain. The Puritan’s believed that it was necessary to be in a covenant relationship with God in order to be redeemed from one’s sinful condition. These fervent followers taught that God had chosen to reveal salvation through preaching, and that the Holy Spirit was the energizing instrument of salvation. Unfortunately, some took this to the extreme, claiming that working hard at one’s call was a sign that you would be saved.

Servants (slaves), be obedient to those who are your physical masters, having respect for them and eager concern to please them, in singleness of motive and with all your heart, as [service] to Christ [Himself]—Not in the way of eye-service [as if they were watching you] and only to please men, but as servants (slaves) of Christ, doing the will of God heartily and with your whole soul; Ephesians 6:5-6.

In the passage above and below, the apostle Paul addresses work ethic by targeting a broad audience. After speaking to fathers about the urge to exasperate their children, Paul moves on to displaying proper conduct. This scope isn’t limited to the poor, but includes administrators, business owners, and those in places of authority and power. Using the Golden Rule as a point of reference, Paul urges individuals to do unto others as you want others to do unto you, Matthew 7:12. This is the root of work ethic, striving to love others as God loves us, Matthew 22:36-40.

Rendering service readily with goodwill, as to the Lord and not to men, Knowing that for whatever good anyone does, he will receive his reward from the Lord, whether he is slave or free. You masters, act on the same [principle] toward them and give up threatening and using violent and abusive words, knowing that He Who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no respect of persons (no partiality) with Him, Ephesians 6:7-9.

When I first started working as a teenager, I was taught the harder you worked, the more money you would make. This wasn’t always true, but if you developed a reputation for being a hard worker, this led to bigger and better opportunities to advance. As someone who has always wrestled with being a workaholic, pacing myself has been a daily battle throughout my life. Subsequently, I tend to burn myself out, addicted to what I am doing until desire and passion fades away. While adopting a good work ethic is important, you don’t want to end up like Martha who lost her childhood faith, Luke 10:38-42. Instead, seek to be more like Mary to entertain Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Inspired by the Spirit of a Living God

The author of Hebrews refers to the Bible as a book that is living and active, Hebrews 4:12. These supernatural words come alive as souls are activated, energized, and motivated to share what the Holy Spirit brings to light. Compared to a double edged sword, spiritual warriors can use the Bible for protection against the Devil, Matthew 4:7 and quickly go on the offense to take back spiritual footholds, Matthew 4:10.

You show and make obvious that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, not written with ink but with [the] Spirit of [the] living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the reliance and confidence that we have through Christ toward and with reference to God, 2 Corinthians 3:3-4.

While writing a letter to the Church at Corinth, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write down what God put on his heart. Although the original copy of this New Testament book was written in pen, the Spirit of a living God flowed through Paul. Apparently, Paul was in the zone, writing until his inspiration, thoughts, and words ceased. This experience was detailed in a letter to a teenager pastor as God breathes life into us, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Not that we are fit (qualified and sufficient in ability) of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God. [It is He] Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant [of salvation through Christ], not [ministers] of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code [of the Law] kills, but the [Holy] Spirit makes alive, 2 Corinthians 3:5-6.

Since February 4th, 2012, I written over 3,100 blogs. When I sit down in front of my computer, I never fully know what direction God will lead me. Most of the time, I have an idea of what I want to write, but the Holy Spirit has a way of taking over, Psalm 119:105. However, some days the Spirit moves and other days writing becomes a chore. Nonetheless, day after day I am inspired by the Spirit of the Living God each week to write.

by Jay Mankus

The Counterfeit Idol

Idols are an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship. This person or thing is greatly admired, loved, or revered. Meanwhile, counterfeits are made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud others. In the manufacturing world, counterfeiters have become masters at making duplicates of high end products that appear to be authentic.

Then He told them a parable, saying, The land of a rich man was fertile and yielded plentifully. 17 And he considered and debated within himself, What shall I do? I have no place [in which] to gather together my harvest. 18 And he said, I will do this: I will pull down my storehouses and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain or produce and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many good things laid up, [enough] for many years. Take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself merrily, Luke 12:16-19.

From a biblical perspective, Jesus conveys a parable that opens up conversation for a counterfeit idol. Whenever an individual through dedication and hard work builds a successful business, there is a temptation to ease up by relying on past performances. While money in itself is not bad, the love of money is the root of all evil, 1 Timothy 6:10. Jesus warns about allowing money to darken your soul, Matthew 6:19-24.

But God said to him, You fool! This very night they [the messengers of God] will demand your soul of you; and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be? 21 So it is with the one who continues to lay up and hoard possessions for himself and is not rich [in his relation] to God [this is how he fares]. 22 And [Jesus] said to His disciples, Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious and troubled [with cares] about your life, as to what you will [have to] eat; or about your body, as to what you will [have to] wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body [more] than clothes. 24 Observe and consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn; and [yet] God feeds them. Of how much more worth are you than the birds! – Luke 12:20-24

When greed takes over someone’s life, minds are blinded by the source of all wealth, Malachi 3:9-10. Instead of solely trusting God to provide, Proverbs 3:5-6, greed makes someone believe that they can make money on their own. If success continues, greed becomes the counterfeit idol, feeding the cravings of those hungry for control, money and power. “If your body has been infiltrated by darkness, how great is that darkness,” Matthew 6:23. This is what makes greed the counterfeit idol. Let the light of God’s Word expose this darkness.

by Jay Mankus

The Smallest Level of Faith is Hope

Martin Seligman’s research on learned helplessness was a inspired by a study using laboratory rats. In this particular experiment, rats were placed into water for an extended period of time. After ten minutes of fervently swimming to stay alive, the rats began to give up, drowning. A second experiment was launched to focus on learned helplessness. This time rats were removed from the water after 9 minutes, each were dried off and given food before repeating this process. The second time these rats fought for 15 minutes and the third they remained swimming for half an hour.

For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself,] Ephesians 2:8-9.

A series of parables shared by Jesus became etched into the mind of a first century doctor. Three particular stories inspired an entire chapter, Luke 15. The common element of these 3 parables is the length at which God will go out of his way to rescue the lost. Whether you have gone astray like a lost sheep, misplaced a valuable possession, or have chosen to go your own way like the prodigal son, God is waiting with open arms to welcome you back. If God can save undeserving sinners of the past, there’s no reason not to believe that God won’t save you or me either.

But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Savior to man [as man] appeared, He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by [the] cleansing [bath] of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:4-5.

The message of salvation provides a glimmer of hope for the faithless. Just like the rats who were rescued from the water in the experiment above, God sent Jesus to seek and save those who are lost, Luke 19:10. Prior to hope entering your life, doubt resides within most minds, taking control over your thought life. Therefore, the smallest level of faith is hope, Hebrews 11:1-6. Since you have to start some where, allow hope to enable you to overcome learned helplessness.

by Jay Mankus

PERMA

The technical term PERMA is an acronym for a model of well-being put forth by Martin Seligman. Seligman is considered a pioneer in in the field of positive psychology. PERMA consists of five important building blocks of well-being and happiness. The P stands for positive emotions, E for engagement, R for relationships, M for mission and A for accomplishments. This model was designed to help those individuals who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder and want to overcome this through a major comeback mentally.

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore, Psalm 16:11.

The Bible compliments the PERMA model through a series of promises. Whenever you are on the road to recovery, doubt is one of the greatest obstacles, filling your mind with unbelief. Following a grueling injury while running a cross country race in high school, my doctors weren’t optimistic of me making a full recovery. After seeing the x-rays of my torn tendons, I was told that I would never run again, a permanent screw would have to be placed into my ankle, and I’d probably walk with a limp the rest of my life.

If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love. 11 I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing, John 15:10-11.

At this time as a 16 year old, I wasn’t aware of the power of prayer. The day before my operation I was mobbed by Christian friends who laid hands on me, praying for a successful surgery. Twenty four hours later, the chief surgeon at Thomas Jefferson Hospital was amazed, explaining this procedure to me after I woke up. Like a skeptic who became open to the power of God, my ankle magically popped into place after twisting it back into where it belonged. Although I never heard of PERMA until listening to a recent sermon, I understood the importance of removing doubt from your mind before you pray, Matthew 21:19-22. May prayer be your PERMA.

by Jay Mankus

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