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An Unlikely Cure for Depression

As someone who has worked nights the past 7 years, there usually isn’t anything good on television overnight. Despite trying to sleep on my nights off, my body is use to staying up late. Thus, I have a tendency to channel surf from time to time. Over Thanksgiving I caught an author who was speaking about an intriguing account from Cambodia. While talking with a psychologist doing research oversees, an unlikely cure for depression was discovered.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

This psychologist was studying Cambodian techniques on treating depression. One case study centered around a rice patty farmer who lost his leg when a land mine exploded. Doctors initially provided an artificial limb to continue his occupation after being medically cleared to return to work. Unfortunately, the strength to stay under water and added pain from this injury was too much for this man to overcome.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, Isaiah 41:10.

When depression overwhelmed this man’s soul, medication was considered, but not prescribed. Instead, doctor’s listened to this man pour out of his heart, trying to come up with an alternative solution. After several days of discussion, this man was given a cow instead of drugs. This gift enabled this man to transition to a milk farmer. After one month of changing occupations, this man’s depression disappeared. Perhaps, its time that America adopts similar policies by stop handing out drugs and start being creative so that more unlikely cures for depression are discovered.

by Jay Mankus

Amusing Yourself to Death

Growing up in the mid-Atlantic part of the United States, my parents placed major restrictions on my ability to watch television. Each summer I was forced out of my house to go find something to do with the other neighborood kids. Rainy days consisted of marathon board games like Monopoly and ending with a binging of Atari. When the weather cooperated, time was spent riding bikes, skateboards and playing something sports related. If I didn’t fall asleep right away, television was limited to relaxing at night.

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” – Acts 2:37

Cable television didn’t arrive to my region until 1983, but my parents opted to wait another five years before playing a monthly charge to watch television. Beside going over friends houses to watch Music Television and HBO, I didn’t experience cable until college. Despite being intrigued by all the channels, a busy social life kept me active through college. Most evenings wee spent enjoying dancing at nightclubs, karoaking at my favorite cafe and playing sand volleyball. At this point in my life, I was’t attached to television

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9.

After my wife and I finally decided to add cable into our home, television has gradually become more of a priority. Perhaps, being linked and tied to wifi makes this an easier decisio. Yet, if you are not careful, watching television can become a subtle way to amuze yourself to death spiritually. Instead of setting aside time to read the Bible, television becomes an idol that has a way of sucking up all of your idle time. Thus, unless you place safe guards and restrictions on your viewing pleasure, it won’t be long before you die a slow spiritual death, amused and blinded by a guilty earthly pleasure.

by Jay Mankus

The Forgotten Years

Roughly 40% of senior citizens over the age of 65 suffer from some sort of memory impairment. Only one percent of those suffering with memory loss currently will end up being diagnosed with dementia. Nonetheless, this still leaves 16 million people who experience what I call the forgotten years.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me, Psalm 23:4.

If you live long enough, you too wil come face to face with family members or friends who will forget who you are. You may visit these individuals in a

nursing home or retirement community and experience some sort of a breakthrough during a conversation. Yet, the next day any evidence of this improvement disappears as previous conversations and or your name is forgotten once again.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

My wife Leanne deals with her mom’s current memory loss situation better than I could ever do. The realization that the woman who took care of you for so many years as a child can no longer care for herself is heart breaking. While the Bible does contain passages about old age and dying, having your mother forget who you are is devastating. And yet, a growing number of adults come face to face with memory loss each year. For those of you still struggling, may you find comfort in the words from the Bibble.

by Jay Mankus

Storing Up Great Blessings

On October 3, 1789, George Washington made a proclamation as president to create the first Thanksgiving Day. Washington proclaimed, “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will.” This designation set the stage for the United States of America to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday every November.

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness which You have wrought for those who trust and take refuge in You before the sons of men! – Psalm 31:19

Over the last 225 years, Thanksgiving has evolved, losing it’s original intent along the way. Instead of concentrating on giving thanks to the Almighty God, this celebration how turned into what are you thankful for. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, subtle changes to past traditions de-emphasize God’s role and call to obey the Lord’s will.

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will], 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

The Bible is filled with reminders to give thanks. The Psalmist encourages readers to store up great blessings as you set your heart and mind on things above. Meanwhile, the apostle Paul urges first century Christians to give thanks to God in all circumstances. Just like a wedding vow, praise and thanks should exist for better or for worse. Thus, as Thanksgiving Day finally arrives, may you strive to store up great blessings by serving Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

A Foreigner’s Recognition of Thanks

Anyone who has been pampered, spoiled or blessed with a great education are prone to taking the little things in life forgranted. Meanwhle, the less fortunate are often surprised and take pleasure in being in the presence of blessed individuals. Take for example, the account of ten lepers, nine from Israel and one Samaritan. When each contracted this contagious disease, these social outcasts became friends, able to relate to one another and share their disappontments, frustrations and sorrows. Although considered merely a half Jew, outside of God’s chosen people, these lepers embraced this outsider as their own.

11 While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; 13 and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. 15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; 16 and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a [c]Samaritan, Luke 17:11-16.

After Jesus took pity on these 10 lepers, the Israelites went immediately to the priest. These Jews had grown accustom to presenting themselves to priests in order to become ceremonially clean. This is how these young men wee raised. Lacking this tradition, the Samaritan who was healed was blown away, overwhelmed by the mercy bestowed upon him. This emotional response compelled this Samaritan to return to Jesus to offer up praise and thanksgiving to God. Apparently, the other nine lepers who were healed went on with the rest of their lives without stopping to give thanks.

17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? 18 Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health,” Luke 17:17-19,

This season of thanks is as good of a time as any to reflect upon this biblical passage. As children transform into teenagers and then into young adults, joy for life can be lost. This pattern often repeats itself as parents tend to lose sight of what’s really important in this life. Before long, religious traditions replace an intimate relationship with God. Instead of being filled with a spirit of appreciation, human souls forget to stop and give thanks to God. If 2019 finds you stuck in an endless cycle void of thanksgiving, may this foreigner’s recognition of thanks inspire you to be more thankful in 2020 and beyond.

by Jay Mankus

Receiving New Courage

Although the Wizard of Oz debuted in 1939, this became one of my favorite films as a child 40 years later. For some reason, reruns were broadcast twice a year, once before Easter and the other around Thanksgiving. The thought of a scarecrow searching for a brain, a tinman desperately wanting a heart and a cowardly lion hoping to find courage struck a cord with my soul. This film made me believe that it’s possible to receive new courage.

And the [Christian] brethren there, having had news of us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and received new courage, Acts 28:15.

During a prolonged trip from Jerusalem to Rome, taking nearly 6 months, Paul seems to be wore down. Luke doesn’t expound upon why, but the passage above illuminates how the Christian community lifted his spirits. There are no details about who encouraged Paul or what was said, yet it’s clear that the words exchanged empowered Paul. After receiving strength to face the adversity of another trial, God prepared Paul for what lied ahead in Rome.

That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:6-7.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul writes a letter to a teenage pastor called Timothy. Apparently, Paul received news that Timothy had become fearful, timid about speaking out against wrong behavior and teaching. Paul reiterates that this inclination is not from God. Rather, the Lord has given believers a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Therefore, if you are searching for courage today, look no further than the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus


To the casual observer, this title suggests I am referring to the television series starring Kiefer Sutherland. While this counter-terrorist drama brought Jack Bauer to life, I mention this because 24 is the only television show that I have followed live since getting married in 1995. In the early years of my marriage, cable wasn’t a priority, just watching the four major networks and whatever else our antenna could pick up. While visiting my father in law in Chicago, 24 watch parties were a common occurrence, fixated for the entire hour once a week.

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

However, the real meaning of today’s title is the number of years that I now have been married. For today, November 25th is my 24th wedding anniversary. While eating brunch with my groomsmen, I watched Ohio State, where I did part of my college internship, lose to Michigan in college football. As the 3 pm wedding time drew near, Chicago was seasonably warm, in the fifties. While Leanne did most of the planning, my input was the music, having two friends sing in our wedding and DJ from Indiana where I served as a youth pastor. My favorite part of this day was personally greeting each row, meeting and talking with family and friends. Yet, it’s hard to believe that 24 years have passed in a blinking of an eye.

House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord, Proverbs 19:14.

Looking forward, next year will mark a quarter of a century and the following year will mean that I have spent half of my life on earth with Leanne. What Moses says in Genesis about marriage is true, two people become one. While selfish desires still exist, part of marriage is coming together as a team to follow God’s will. Three children and one wedding later, there are still many events that await in the future. Yet, I am thankful that the Lord allowed me to meet Leanne Marie Wagner at a youth workers convention 26 years ago. I pray that as our home becomes an empty nest in three years that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the years ahead. As for today, I wish my bride Leanne a happy anniversary.

by Jay Mankus

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