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S.A.N.S. Episode 194: One Hell of an Amen

Now that I am a full-time resident of South Carolina, I am surrounded by country music. Earlier this spring I was searching for a song that complimented one of my daily devotionals. After clicking on a few You Tubes, I stumbled upon Brantley Gilbert’s song One Hell of an Amen. The lyrics tell stories of a soldier who died for his country and another adult battling cancer.

Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses, 1 Timothy 6:12.

One Hell of an Amen alludes to the words of the apostle Paul in the passage above. Paul is urging a teenage pastor to keep fighting for Jesus by living out your faith. Meanwhile, One Hell of an Amen encourages listeners to live each day like it’s your last before the Lord calls you home to heaven. Since Amen means “so be it,” fight the good fight of faith.

by Jay Mankus

The Utmost Freedom of Speech

Oswald Chambers named his daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest. Following his death in 1917, Chambers’ widow published this collection of sermons designed to reach students and soldiers in 1927. Prior to modern technology, you could find a copy of My Utmost for His Highest in churches across the country. Whether at a Church Office, Foyer or Welcome Center, free copies were often made available to guests to deepen the spiritual growth of believers.

This is in keeping with my own eager desire and persistent expectation and hope, that I shall not disgrace myself nor be put to shame in anything; but that with the utmost freedom of speech and unfailing courage, now as always heretofore, Christ (the Messiah) will be magnified and get glory and praise in this body of mine and be boldly exalted in my person, whether through (by) life or through (by) death, Philippians 1:20.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul refers to “the utmost freedom of speech.” Paul isn’t referring to the Bill of Rights or the United States Constitution. Rather, this expression is based upon the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of apostles eager to share the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ. Fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20, conceived in Paul a desire, expectation, and hope to tell the world about Jesus.

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity], Philippians 1:21.

Out of this utmost freedom of speech spawned one of the most famous sayings in the New Testament. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Paul proclaims to live is Christ and to die is gain. Like a foreshadowing of his future death as a prisoner of Christ, this utmost freedom fueled Paul’s spiritual intensity. In today’s age of Cancel Culture, many Christians are muzzled, afraid of the blow back from social media. Instead of becoming a prisoner of fear, snap out of it so that you too can experience the utmost freedom of speech.

by Jay Mankus

Diakrisis

Pneumatikós is an adjective which is derived from pneúma, the Greek word for spirit. Pneumatikós refers to the spiritual realm,  the invisible sphere in which the Holy Spirit imparts faith. In the passage below, the apostle Paul choses the Greek word πίστις. As individuals begin to listen to and read the Bible, hearts, minds and souls are persuaded by conviction to believe in the risen son of God, Jesus.

But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? 17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself), Romans 10:16-17.

As individuals enter into a personal relationship with God, Romans 10:9-10, a variety of spiritual gifts are imparted. One of these gifts is Diakrisis, the spiritual gift of discernment. Whenever anyone begins to hear voices, logic questions if you are crazy or not? However, as I sought counsel from other spiritual leaders, I wasn’t sure what to do or how to proceed. Several years later, I attended a 2 day conference on discernment. During one workshop, I realized that writing was one of the best ways to utilize Diakrisis.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. 16 [And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives], 1 Peter 3:15-16.

A few days after attending this event, I spoke with a woman from my Bible Study. After picking her brain about her own blog, Express Yourself 4Him was conceived. Like anything in life, the initial years was a learning experience, trying to figure out the content, format and overall objective. Using what I learned as a high school Bible teacher, Diakrisis led me to turn my posts into a daily devotional. Although some topics that I chose may not relate to you, I feel called to share my faith through writing about what God is teaching me daily. This is Diakrisis in action.

by Jay Mankus

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