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Inspiration Doesn’t Follow a Schedule

The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something is known as inspiration. This invisible force tends to reveal itself in the form of artistry, creativity, flair, imagination, and vision. While attending a youth ministry trade school more than 25 years ago, I was introduced to Green Light Thinking. This exercise channels inspiration from our minds on to a piece of paper. During this 5 minute period, there is no such thing as a bad idea, writing down every inspirational thought.

Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

According to the apostle Paul, authors of the Bible were inspired by divine forces. Whether morning, day or night, inspiration doesn’t follow a schedule. Like momentum that fluctuates back and forth in a close athletic competition, spectators are on the edge of their seats until the end of the game. This is the type of anticipation that Christians should experience each time they open up the Word of God. When hearts and minds become open to the spiritual realm like a sponge, inspiration will flow.

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future], John 16:13.

During a conversation with his disciples, Jesus unveils what the Holy Spirit will resemble when it arrives on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2. This invisible Spirit is like a personal guide to direct you toward the Truth, the meaning of life. There isn’t a set place or time to meet. Rather, the Holy Spirit counsels those of you who are paying attention, keeping in step with this inspirational force, Galatians 5:25. Despite what your daily schedule may bring, may you be open to the possibility so that you go with inspiration when it arrives.

by Jay Mankus

When You Wanna Get Away

When the National Football League was in it’s prime, Southwest Airlines was one of it’s corporate sponsors. The initial commercial began with an official making a bad call during a game; then made it worse by leaving his microphone on while discussing the play with other referees. Thus, the phrase “you wanna get away” was born.

And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed, Mark 1:35.

Embarrassing moments don’t just disappear with time. Depending upon your age, how much you talk and the risks you take in life, these awkward and epic failures tend to increase. While on a field trip to the Smithsonian as a freshmen in high school, I wasn’t paying attention. Subsequently, I tried to walk up a down escalator. When I took I violent crash face first, I definitely wanted to get away.

And Simon [Peter] and those who were with him followed Him [pursuing Him eagerly and hunting Him out], 37 And they found Him and said to Him, Everybody is looking for You. 38 And He said to them, Let us be going on into the neighboring country towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out, Mark 1:36-38.

The Bible refers to a different kind of a get away. According to one of Paul’s missionary servants, Jesus started each new day by retreating to a quiet place. Once settled, Jesus began to communicate with his heavenly father. This time of prayer cleared Jesus’ head, enabling Him to start focusing on today. While modern people often wake up in a daze, Jesus was refreshed, able to narrow in on where to go, what to do and who to reach. The next time you wanna get away, follow in the footsteps of Jesus by praying.

by Jay Mankus

The Genius of Creation

One of George Mason’s nicknames is the “Father of the Bill of Rights.” According to historians, it was Mason who proposed the language mentioned in the First Amendment. Using a Christian reference in the Bible, “All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion.” While secular and revisionist historians continue to suggest that America wasn’t founded on biblical principles, the genius of God’s creation has left several breadcrumbs inside the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth, Genesis 1:26-28.

As America struggles with civil and racial unrest, the Bible is full of solutions to unite souls. In the passage above, Moses reveals that men and women were created in God’s own image. The Our refers to the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This collaboration suggests an agreement, content with Creation. This unity carries over to the New Testament as Jesus came to live, die, and rise again so that all nations and religions could come together again. Unfortunately, there are invisible forces that cause human beings to fight one another instead of the real enemy, Ephesians 6:12.

For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ. 28 There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus, Galatians 3:27-28.

The apostle Paul writes about the unity of Christ in letters to Colosse and Galatia. Each of these letters possess a common theme, unity that is available in Christ. When you fully surrender to God, giving up your own desires and wants, unity is made possible. When this maturation process is complete, you take on a new identity in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:21-22. Unfortunately, many Christians never fully yield total control, Subsequently, unity does not occur in many churches as division and factions seek self promotion. If you want to experience the genius of Creation, hand over the reigns of your life to Jesus, Matthew 16:24-27.

by Jay Mankus

The Dispensation of the Spirit

From a theological point of view, dispensation is a distinctive arrangement; a period in history that forms the framework through which God relates to mankind. The traditional definition is an exemption from a rule or usual requirement. In the context of the church, dispensation is permission to be exempted from the laws and or religious observances. As spiritual leaders, pastors, and teachers share the gospel message each week, peace, pardon, righteousness and salvation, spiritual joy and comfort are expressed.

Why should not the dispensation of the Spirit [this spiritual ministry whose task it is to cause men to obtain and be governed by the Holy Spirit] be attended with much greater and more splendid glory? – 2 Corinthians 3:8

According to the apostle Paul, this dispensation of the Holy Spirit is done in accordance with his church planting ministry. As spiritual seeds are sown by explaining the mystery of faith, people are drawn to gain access to this living water, John 4:11-14. As individuals make decisions to become born again, John 3:4-6, new believers take baby steps, Galatians 5:25, as they learn the process of being governed by the Holy Spirit. However, making a transition from the flesh to the Spirit doesn’t come easy, Galatians 5:16-18.

For if the service that condemns [the ministration of doom] had glory, how infinitely more abounding in splendor and glory must be the service that makes righteous [the ministry that produces and fosters righteous living and right standing with God]! – 2 Corinthians 3:9

The passage above eludes to sanctifying grace, the transitional process while participating in a new divine lifestyle. This transformation does not occur overnight. Rather, this progression takes a lifetime as you learn to discard your old self by putting on Christ, Colossians 3:1-5. The passage above refers to the ministration of doom. Paul mentions the condemnation which awaits transgressors who live according to Old Testament law. Thus, as Jesus fulfills the promise of a Messiah, the Savior of the world in the New Testament, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit is now available to those who believe.

by Jay Mankus

The Fight to Survive

The song I Will Survive was written and composed by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris. The first recording of this song was done by Gloria Gaynor in 1978. As a top-selling song, I Will Survive became a popular disco anthem. The lyrics just prior to the opening chorus reads “Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?” This line leads into “Oh, no, not I, I will survive. Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive.
I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive, I will survive, hey, hey.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

Over the past 9 months, the fight to survive has taken on a new meaning. Between the Coronavirus, the lock down designed to flatten the curve, wearing masks in public and the stress to keep up with your bills has worn down countless souls. Meanwhile, as individuals have been stuck inside their homes, addiction, abuse, depression and suicide has skyrocketed. All it takes is just one more setback to push people over the edge, losing the will to live and survive. While I’ve probably been more fortunate than most in 2020, I too have known individuals who have lost their battle with COVID-19.

In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—Ephesians 2:2

While some have blamed God for this worldwide plague, the Bible points to a spiritual enemy. Jesus calls this character a thief, seeking to kill your dreams, steal your joy and eliminate the concept of hope. Meanwhile, the apostle Paul eludes to the spiritual dimension where Lucifer reigns, commanding demons to attack at a moments notice. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 provides advice, directions and insight to deal with these dark powers. The only way to fight back is by using spiritual weapons. May this blog encourage you to not lose hope so that you will survive your next trial.

by Jay Mankus

Enjoy Your Walk

When I normally give my dog Akira a walk, it’s before the sunrise, guided by the street lights in my neighborhood. Since I’m usually in a hurry, rarely do I enjoy the walk, thinking about everything that I have to do. With my wife out of town, I was able to see the smile on Akira’s face today. This is her favorite time of the day, eager to get out, explore and see other dogs. Akira’s joy made me think about a different kind of walk.

Now He Who has fashioned us [preparing and making us fit] for this very thing is God, Who also has given us the [Holy] Spirit as a guarantee [of the fulfillment of His promise]. So then, we are always full of good and hopeful and confident courage; we know that while we are at home in the body, we are abroad from the home with the Lord [that is promised us], 2 Corinthians 5:5-6.

The Bible uses walk in the context of a personal relationship with God. Some authors refer to this relationship as a journey or a race. The apostle Paul takes life one day at a time, walking by faith along the way. Faith serves as a thermostat, regulating Christian lives through beliefs and convictions. Trusting God combined with holy fervor enables modern day believers to enjoy their walk with Jesus.

For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance. [Yes] we have confident and hopeful courage and are pleased rather to be away from home out of the body and be at home with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:7-8.

The closer you get to God, the more enjoyable your walk will become. Yet, like anything in life, some days are good, others are fair and there will be bad days. Instead of walking in sunshine, storms, wind and rain will pour down upon weakened and troubled souls. If you’re not careful, you will allow your environment to dictate your faith. Therefore, walk by faith so that you will begin to enjoy your walk, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

Christ is Greater Than

The greater-than sign dates back to the 1560’s. This mathematical symbol denotes an inequality between two values. The widely adopted form of two equal-length strokes connecting in an acute angle at the right was first discovered in documents in the 16th century. Yet, there is a first century book that uses an analogy rather than the greater than symbol.

He then goes on to say, And their sins and their lawbreaking I will remember no more. 18 Now where there is absolute remission (forgiveness and cancellation of the penalty) of these [sins and lawbreaking], there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, since we have full freedom and confidence to enter into the [Holy of] Holies [by the power and virtue] in the blood of Jesus, 20 By this fresh (new) and living way which He initiated and dedicated and opened for us through the separating curtain (veil of the Holy of Holies), that is, through His flesh, Hebrews 10:17-20.

The author of Hebrews refers to Jesus as the Great High Priest. Using a reference from the Old Testament, Jesus is linked to the order of Melchizedek, Genesis 14:18-20. When you add these nicknames with someone who became a living sacrifice, 2 Corinthians 5:21, this is what makes Christ greater than any other god, rising from the dead.

And since we have [such] a great and wonderful and noble Priest [Who rules] over the house of God, 22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water. 23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word. 24 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Hebrews 10:21-24.

The passage above serves as a calling to respond to God’s gift, John 3:16-17. The thought of God’s demonstration through Christ should elicit and stimulate souls to act, Romans 5:8. If modern day Christians could simply love others as God has loved us, Matthew 7:12, a revival would begin. If it only takes a spark to get a fire going, Christ could become greater than ever if hearts illuminate love, grace and mercy.

by Jay Mankus

Where is the Spirit of the Lord?

Prior to the New Testament, the Spirit of the Lord is described as a presence that takes over your body. Similar to a momentum swing during a sporting event, an inner confidence spreads as teammates begin to believe that victory is on the way, 1 Samuel 16:13-14. However, the Spirit of the Lord also has the ability to depart as well, like it did for King Saul. If God’s Spirit can come and go, learning to keep in step with the Holy Spirit is essential, Galatians 5:25.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom), 2 Corinthians 3:17.

Yet, the apostle Paul adds another element to the Spirit of the Lord in the passage above. Similar to his words on the fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, Paul explains what the Holy Spirit can do for you. First and foremost, the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom to those formally held hostage by addictions and cravings of their flesh. When the Spirit of the Lord is present, liberty is made possible through repentance.

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit, 2 Corinthians 3:18.

The Bible serves as a spiritual mirror for all human beings. If you are not reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis, God’s reflection slowly disappears. Thus, the Bible serves as a wardrobe, the entrance to the Holy Spirit like C.S. Lewis’ the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The more you open this living book, the greater your chances increase for accessing the Spirit of the Lord, Romans 10:17. As you draw near to God, the Spirit of the Lord will come close to you, James 4:7-8.

by Jay Mankus

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

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