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S.A.N.S. Episode 110: Awaken Love

While the Bible calls Christians to live by faith and not by sight, most people rely too much on their feelings. When you’re in a good mood, enjoying life and loving others is easier. However, if you let your daily circumstances dictate how you act and behave, love tends to die. In today’s song by Lacey Sturm, she sings about her desire to awaken love.

Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us), 1 Corinthians 16:14.

While visiting the Church of Corinth, the wealth of Christians persuaded some to have ulterior motives for loving. This is the reason for the warning in the passage above. Everything you do should be inspired by love. If you want to be true to God, love should be awakened so you can pass it on to others. Knowing what the Bible says without applying it daily is meaningless. Therefore, may Lacey’s song inspire you to awaken love today.

by Jay Mankus

Absolute Confidence

Confidence is the belief, feeling, or inner desire that you can rely on someone or something. Whether you’re a gifted academic, natural athlete or possess unique trade skills, certain talents come with ease. The more this special quality is fine-tuned, individuals begin to develop an absolute confidence in their ability. The Bible speaks of a spiritual absolute confidence.

We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him], 1 John 5:18.

According to a member of Jesus’ inner circle, absolute confidence is conceived when individuals become born again. This spiritual conception comes from the Holy Spirit who gives Christians everything they need for life, 2 Peter 1:3-4. The apostle Paul compares the Holy Spirit to an invisible force that you can feel and sense as you walk through life, Galatians 5:25.

And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]? Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job [reverently] fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land, Job 1:8-10.

One of the reasons why evil exists in this world is due to a lack of prayer coverage. Based upon the oldest book in the Bible, Satan complained that God was placing a hedge of protection around Christian leaders. Only when this hedge was removed, did Job become vulnerable to spiritual attacks. The act of sin is merely a byproduct of losing faith by giving into natural desires. The end goal is to become filled with Christ’s strength so that the Devil will not lay a hand on you. This is absolute confidence.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 109: Walking on Water

Today’s featured song comes from a group that began in South Carolina. Need to Breathe decided to broaden their audience by crossing over to reach a secular audience. Although I never found one of NeedtoBreathe’s albums to be incredibly amazing, they have been consistent over the past two decades. The longer this group sticks around, the bigger their following has become.

And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright. 27 But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid! 28 And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. 29 He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus, Matthew 14:26-29.

As for Walking on Water, the passage above contains one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible. Who needs a boat when you can walk on water. Yet, for Peter, he went from thinking Jesus was a ghost to getting out of his boat to imitate Jesus’ miraculous act. However, the moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. If you want to do the unthinkable today, keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

The Day Demons Were Driven Out

For Jesus, this day started out like any other. Getting up early, taking a walk in the wilderness, and spending time in prayer. Yet, when the disciples woke up, they began to panic, unaware of Jesus’ morning routine. According to John Mark, a frantic search for Jesus began until he was found sometime after the sun rose. Rather than follow the whims of the disciples, Jesus went to the exact place where God wanted him to go.

And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a [u]deserted place, and there He prayed. 36 And Simon [Peter] and those who were with him followed Him [[v]pursuing Him eagerly and hunting Him out], Mark 1:35-36.

How you ever felt like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and never felt right all day long? Have you thought you knew exactly what you want to do today only to find out it was a waste of time? Based upon the passage above, the 12 disciples were in a full-blown panic. Instead of asking God for help, the disciples were frantically searching for Jesus. These were the emotions racing through the minds of these 12 men before Jesus led them to the place where God wanted them to go.

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. 39 [So] He went throughout the whole of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons, Mark 1:37-39.

This group traveled to Galilee where Jesus began to preach, teach, and heal. John Mark doesn’t go into specifics on who were demon possessed, but something Jesus said scared the hell out of these demons. Perhaps this encounter was similar to the slave girl that followed Paul around in Acts 16. Whatever the circumstances, the truth that Jesus spoke struck a nerve. Before the day was over, the power of the Holy Spirit was unleashed as these demons were driven out for good.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 108: Dear Agony

Breaking Benjamin is one of the first groups I discovered from doing searches on You Tube. Breaking Benjamin isn’t a spiritual based rock band, but has produced songs with deep meaning. Such is the case of today’s featured song Dear Agony. The lyrics remind me of letters that I wrote to friends in college as I poured out my heart about what was going on in my life.

For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 6:23.

Lead singer Jackson Burnley IV sings about finding the enemy deep within you while singing Dear Agony. Like any emotional experience that you endure in life. agony has a way of sucking the joy and life out of you. The passage above coincides with Dear Agony as the wages of sin result in death. This is the ultimate form of agony, eternal separation from God. If you’re not sure about the afterlife, remember the words of 1 John 5:12-13 so that you will know for sure about your future.

by Jay Mankus

Wasting the Time God Gives You

Whether you own an alarm clock, phone, or watch, time doesn’t stop when you fall asleep. From the time you get to the time you go to bed; time keeps ticking away. Some days you may be productive while others have too many distractions to get what you want done. Subsequently, you’re either living the abundant life that Jesus promised, John 10:10, or you’re wasting the time that God has given you.

And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. 13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. 14 And when he had spent all he had, a [g]mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want, Luke 15:11-14.

The Bible uses the expression of sitting down to signal completion. When completing God’s will for His life by dying on a cross, Jesus sat down to be with God the Father in heaven. Yet, many Christians sit down at the end of each day without finishing what the Holy Spirit has called them to do. Subsequently, sitting down often results in wasting the time that God has given you on earth.

For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 Indeed, we hear that some among you are disorderly [that they are passing their lives in idleness, neglectful of duty], being busy with other people’s affairs instead of their own and doing no work, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11.

Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a little bit of prodigal spirit within all human beings. For some it’s the temptation of temporary pleasures, others struggle with materialism and people like me have a stubbornness that is hard to let go of. These weaknesses prevent Christians from seizing the moments in each day. Perhaps it’s time to stop wasting God’s time so that you can begin to taste the abundant life which Jesus has promised, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 107: Someone Like You

Twelve Stones is one of the first groups recommended to me by a student in one of my first senior high classes at Red Lion Christian Academy. Twelve Stones combines a classical rock sound with an occasional heavy metal beat. The Behind the Scars album contains a couple of ballads that remind me of secular bands that I listened to in high school.

From now on let no person trouble me [by [l]making it necessary for me to vindicate my apostolic authority and the divine truth of my Gospel], for I bear on my body the [brand] marks of the Lord Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me]! – Galatians 6:17

Someone Like You starts off slow, but transitions into a head bobbing beat. I wouldn’t call this a ballad, but it’s more of a hybrid with a chorus that speaks of finding someone who doesn’t disappoint. From a human standpoint, every day is filled with disappointment as sooner or later someone or something will let you down. This is what makes God special; a supernatural being who saves you from yourself.

by Jay Mankus

The Evidence

After finishing my final exam in college, I was on my way to see a friend play in a tennis tournament. As the light that I was stuck at turned green, I proceeded to enter this intersection when the front on my car was hit by a vehicle running a red light. After getting out of our cars, this man immediately apologized. When the cops didn’t arrive for a while, I told a student eyewitness to go home. As soon as a police officer arrived, this man changed his entire story. The evidence of the skid marks was clearly in my favor, but to the judge I was a college student and the man who hit me was an outstanding citizen.

He who believes in the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] has the testimony [possesses this divine attestation] within himself. He who does not believe God [in this way] has made Him out to be and represented Him as a liar, because he has not believed (put his faith in, adhered to, and relied on) the evidence (the testimony) that God has borne regarding His Son. 11 And this is that testimony (that evidence): God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son, 1 John 5:10-11.

On earth, every day someone gets away with a crime, lie, or sinful act. You may be able to fool friends, family, or your peers for a period of time before the evidence is revealed. When light exposes your actions, behavior and choices, you may become like the man who hit me in college, changing his story when the police show up. This painful experience of injustice served as a wake up call to me as a naive Christian. While right doesn’t always prevail initially, the evidence of an afterlife are written with conviction in the Bible.

In the former account [which I prepared], O Theophilus, I made [a continuous report] dealing with all the things which Jesus began to do and to teach Until the day when He ascended, after He through the Holy Spirit had instructed and commanded the apostles (special messengers) whom He had chosen. To them also He showed Himself alive after His passion (His suffering in the garden and on the cross) by [a series of] many convincing demonstrations [unquestionable evidences and infallible proofs], appearing to them during forty days and talking [to them] about the things of the kingdom of God, Acts 1:1-3.

Luke spoke to individuals who witnessed Jesus’ ascension into heaven. Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ former disciples tells his audience that you can know for sure about your eternal destiny, 1 John 5:12-13. John isn’t wishy washy like a skeptical individual watching an infomercial that sounds too good to be true. Rather John writes as if he just listened to a Tony Robbins motivational podcast, eager to tell others about securing a room in heaven. The Bible is full of evidence, nuggets of truth that will help you find your way home like the bread crumbs Hansel and Gretel left behind to follow when they needed it.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 106: Shout to the Lord

SKA is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s. I went through my own SKA phase back in the early 2000’s. This mixture of big band with American jazz and rhythm and blues appealed to me. Today’s featured song comes from Insyderz which is the first Christian SKA band I was introduced to. The featured song Shout to the Lord was my favorite when I attended Community Services at Willow Creek.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! – Psalm 100:4

The Insyderz version is unlike any that I’ve heard, but it brings back fond memories of worshiping the Lord on Wednesday nights with thousands of people in Chicago. The Book of Psalm is filled with commands to sing and shout to the Lord. When you’re moved by the Holy Spirit, worshiping God can be as exhilarating as dancing. May today’s song inspire you to lift up your voice as you sing to God.

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual Injunction

An injunction is a judicial order that restrains a person from beginning or continuing an action threatening or invading the legal right of another. The purpose of an injunction is to compel a person to carry out a certain act or to make restitution to an injured party. Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples uses injunction in the context of a direct command from God. This spiritual injunction serves as a reminder of how God wants Christians to act, behave and live.

And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [[j]believer] also, 1 John 4:21.

In the days following Pentecost in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit began to flow and move through people. The apostle Paul suggests that this spiritual injunction continues today, Galatians 5:25. While spiritual disciplines may be a daily part of your life, sometimes God’s Spirit may urge you to pray for someone. This direct order may include calling a person from your past or reaching out to someone in need. Whatever the injunction, your response should be fueled by love.

All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

King Solomon ends one of his Old Testament letters with something to consider. God will bring every act, behavior, careless word and deed into judgement. In view of this future reality, Christians should fear, revere and worship God. During his farewell address to Israel, Moses urged listeners to invest your time on earth on things that bring life, Deuteronomy 30:15-16. This spiritual injunction from the past serves as a focal point to cherish and love your neighbor.

by Jay Mankus

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