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Tag Archives: food

Seduced

The term seduced is usually applied to an unwilling participant who is beguiled, enticed and lured into some sort of sexual encounter.  This leaves a victim feeling betrayed, used and violated.  Beyond physical attractions, individuals can also be seduced by alcohol, drugs, fame, food, impulses, pornography, power, shopping, technology and wealth.  One of God’s greatest concerns in the Old Testament was that Jews would be seduced by high places, centers for Canaanite idol worship scattered throughout the Middle East.

And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind, Jeremiah 7:31.

This connection became clear to me after reading an article written by a member of the Billy Graham Association.  High places is mentioned 117 times in the Bible; derived from the Hebrew word “hamah” referring to mountaintops.  In nearby hills, mountains and peaks, open-air altars on elevated knolls were built to pay tribute to pagan and secular gods.  When Israel entered the promised land in Canaan under Joshua’s leadership, God commanded his people to destroy and tear down these places.  Unfortunately, a lack of thoroughness left many behind as ancient idols slowly and subtly seduced God’s people year after year, unable to stay away.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

Today, with a click of a mouse, tap on your phone or voice to Alexia, the internet, a.k.a. the world wide net comes alive.  While this technology was created to advance, expand and further human development, new high places are erected daily.  Fueled by spiritual forces of evil, demons regularly seduce curious and vulnerable souls just like Eve succumbing to Lucifer’s reasoning.  This seduction often goes unnoticed until sin becomes full blown, leaving a trail of devastation and destruction.  Sure, there is forgiveness, grace and mercy, but humans don’t always see eye to eye, abandoning broken relationships to start anew.  Despite how far one may fall, in God’s eyes no one is too far gone.

by Jay Mankus

 

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The Cost of Life

Twenty years ago, the best man in my wedding convinced me that it was a good idea to purchase my first life insurance plan.  With my wife’s blessing, I agreed as this friend was also an insurance agent, excited to have me as one of his first clients.  Well, I made it to age 48, causing my policy to come up for renewal in January.  As a reward for out living this, I received a letter in the mail.  To my surprise, the cost of my next plan has tripled, suggesting that keeping me as a customer may be too risky.  This shocking reality has opened my eyes to the cost of life.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28

If you have a calculator with you or is easily available, jot down a couple of numbers before you start adding up everything.  What do you annually pay for auto insurance, cable, electric, food, gas, health insurance, internet, phone and water?  Before you get any more depressed, starting estimating the price of life for just one year on earth.  Perhaps, this may explain why adults are leaving civilization to begin living off the grid.  Those addicted to modern inventions are stuck flipping the bill to the cost of this life.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith, Hebrews 13:7.

Growing up as a teenager, the Price is Right was my favorite game show, watching this on sick days or reruns after school.  While I understand the concept of this popular show, somewhere along the way the price of life has gotten out of control, no longer right.  The thought of waiting for a bus, living without a cell phone or foregoing internet access seems unbearable.  Yet, if you want to reclaim your freedom from the almighty dollar, you might want to begin making plans to purge yourself from unneeded distractions that inflate the cost of life.

by Jay Mankus

Taste Test

Young people tend to break into the work force at some sort of restaurant.  The idea of free food, drinks or both is enticing.  One of my favorite parts in this occupation was taste testing, giving out samples to customers as well as trying new items on the menu.  Only when you take a bite can you explain to others what to expect.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”- Genesis 3:1

In the case of Eve, one item was forbidden, banned from her daily diet of fruit and vegetables.  Despite this knowledge, an evil voice whispered, promising enlightenment for those who indulge.  After considering this, a second glance planted the seed of lust within her heart.  Without any resistance from her husband, Eve participated in the first taste of sin.

“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”- Genesis 3:5

While the settings have changed, a similar voice exists today.  However, the message isn’t focused on food for the soul.  Rather, this taste test involves a flesh hungry for pleasure.  Unfortunately, this experience is only temporarily satisfied, craving more and more with each encounter.  Guilt, shame and sorrow are common aftertastes.  However, only when you gather the courage to say no, can you escape the trial of destruction awaiting the addicted.  May you have the resolve to avoid the second glance and experience victory over temptation.

by Jay Mankus

 

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

If you believe everything happens for a reason, then my first full time teaching position after college was a blessing in disguise.  Tucked away in the Monongahela National Forest, I spent the Spring Semester of 1993 counseling, teaching and tutoring junior high students who were considered career underachievers.  The learning never stopped, continuing through breakfast, lunch and dinner.  My only true break was for 40 minutes, from 12:20-1:00 pm, Monday thru Friday.  Titled 20/20 Time, students and teachers spent 40 minutes in solitude either on a hillside, in the valley or along the banks of a stream.  The goal of this exercise was to spend 20 minutes reflecting and 20 writing.  To my amazement, I developed a love for journaling; eventually inspiring 12 songs that formed my first album, A Simple Confession.

For those of us who love food, eating is like a race to see who can devour a meal the fastest.  Yet, for businessmen, savvy entrepreneurs and relational individuals, meals are maximized to get work done, explore new opportunities or develop permanent meaningful lasting relationships.  Prior to the rise in youth sports, families spent 30-60 minutes a day at their kitchen table talking .  Now, some households eat out breakfast, lunch and dinner, working meals around busy schedules.  Although hunger is a natural part of the body, appetites can vary from delicacies to worldly obsessions.  Realizing this truth, Jesus introduced a new concept for his listeners to digest, “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Matthew 5:6.

The Psalms of the Bible illuminate how to hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Beginning in Psalm 1:1-3, the author compares this type of individual with an evergreen, a tree that stays green throughout the year.  Known as conifers, the key to this tree is its root system.  When planted near a creek, river or stream, daily nutrients are widely available.  The spiritual dimension to this analogy can be found in Joshua 1:8, where meditating on the Bible day and night results in a similar outcome.  Therefore, if you want to maximize your own meals, start by consuming the Word of God before every breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If this concept takes ahold of your heart, soul and mind, then will resemble the tree in Psalm 1.  This leads me to the chorus from one of the first songs the Holy Spirit inspired me to write, Psalm 1.

“I want to be the tree, down by the river”

“I want to be the tree, down by the bank”

“I want to be the tree, that walks and talks like Jesus”

“Reaching out for nourishment by staying in God’s Word.”

by Jay Mankus

 

The Finest Things in Life Take Time

For most of my life, stubbornness prevented me from trying new things.  As a result, I became limited in my hobbies, being contempt with being a sportsaholic.  This choice narrowed my scope of friends as I allowed myself to stay set in my ways.  A few stints of unemployment beginning in February of 2012 forced me to try new things, surprising me with several new interests.

Cover Photo

With time on my side, I took a vested interest in gardening as I began to dabble in cooking, using the crops from my garden as main ingredients.  A new ipad, a birthday present, spawned a desire for photography, downloading the latest apps which I used on our trip to California earlier in 2013.  While not a strength, I created some you tubes, with the most successful one being my home made salsa recipe.  As in cooking, the finest things take time, often relying on trial and error before you discover the perfect mixture, temperature and exact time.

As the prices of food continue to skyrocket, I have begun a new venture to start making some of my favorite dishes from scratch.  Recently, I have perfected a homemade recipe for french fries with a youtube in the near future.  Potato chips are still a work in process as a rotating system needs to be adjusted to get each row to bake at the some temps.  Pizza and popcorn are on the agenda, depending how tired I am with my new position at Amazon.  If you are like me, don’t let instant gratification get in the way of enabling you to achieve your dreams, regardless of the time it takes.

by Jay Mankus

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