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S.A.N.S. Episode 147: Let You Down

Today’s featured song was introduced me by my son Daniel. Let You Down is by rapper and composer Nate Feuerstein who goes by the stage name NF. One of the things that has drawn my son to become a fan of NF is Nate’s raw emotion and honesty that he shares in each song. When I think of today’s title, humans beings can relate to either being let down or letting down other people you care about.

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome, Jeremiah 29:11.

Let You Down begins with a child’s voice filled with sorrow, singing about letting down his father. From a spiritual point of view, every day Christians let down their heavenly father through poor choices or a lack of action. When you become broken, the weeping prophet shares a glimmer of hope in the passage above. May you overcome past mistakes by dwelling on the future life and plan God has for you.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 137: Somewhere Somehow

Whenever I hear today’s song, I think of my decision to leave youth ministry. After burning myself out in less than a year, the song Somewhere Somehow was released as a duet between Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. Subsequently, as this song plays I think of all the special friendships and people that I met while serving the Lord in Columbus, Indiana. Just as the lyrics express, I hope for a reunion in the future.

Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east [where they are dispersed] and gather you from the west, Isaiah 43:5.

If this reunion doesn’t occur on earth, there is always heaven to look forward to. Whenever two famous artists unite for a special project or song, I get excited and emotional all at once. Nonetheless, Somewhere Somehow serves as a remainder that God is in control, not you. Therefore, as you listen to the lyrics of this special song, may the Holy Spirit help you believe that anything is possible with God.

by Jay Mankus

Does Your Church Have an Angel?

When I think of angels, I usually imagine guardian angels who watch over an individual’s life. Yet, according to John, one of his visions that makes up the book of Revelation, there were 7 specific churches in Asia Minor who possessed an angel. Based upon the passage below, John compares these angels with spiritual messengers who guided the leaders of these 7 churches.

As to the hidden meaning (the mystery) of the seven stars which you saw on My right hand and the seven lampstands of gold: the seven stars are the seven angels (messengers) of the seven assemblies (churches) and the seven lampstands are the seven churches, Revelation 1:20.

As someone who has attended various churches throughout the United States, there are certain places where you sense the power of the Holy Spirit as you enter. Meanwhile, other church buildings seem strange, often giving me an uneasy feeling as I sit down. Is the difference between these churches the presence of an angel or the power of the faith within the members of a congregation?

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service], Psalm 91:11.

One of the Psalmists writes about an angels ability to accompany Christians. Yet, God uses angels to defend and preserve the faith of those who believe. However, if Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels were kicked out of heaven, whether or not freewill is exercised will dictate the spiritual climate of a church. If angels are like modern day spiritual guides, the more church leaders keep in step with the Holy Spirit will set the culture and spiritual tone of modern day houses of worship.

by Jay Mankus

Snatching Souls Out of the Fire

A snatch and grab is a new phrase associated with the recent crime wave due to the elimination of cash bail. As more and more district attorneys stop prosecuting shop lifters, criminals are no longer afraid of getting caught. Yet, in the passage below, Jude calls Christians to snatch souls destined for eternal damnation in hell. When you care for and love sinners, there is hope for real change to occur.

[Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality. 24 Now to Him Who is able to keep you without stumbling or slipping or falling, and to present [you] unblemished (blameless and faultless) before the presence of His glory in triumphant joy and exultation [with unspeakable, ecstatic delight]—Jude 1:23-24

Whenever I attend a funeral, most of the clergy approach the podium with confidence that the person who has just passed away is now in heaven. In the passage above, Jude refers to individuals who are teetering on the edge. Any soul on the verge of being destined for hell can be snatched out of these eternal flames. However, action must be quick and swift before it’s too late, Hebrews 10:26-27.

My] brethren, if anyone among you strays from the Truth and falls into error and another [person] brings him back [to God], 20 Let the [latter] one be sure that whoever turns a sinner from his evil course will save [that one’s] soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins [[a]procure the pardon of the many sins committed by the convert], James 5:19-20.

Meanwhile, Jesus’ earthly brother writes about the spiritual rewards for those individuals who steer anyone from the error of their ways. In the parable of the Lost Son (prodigal), Jesus highlights God’s love who waits patiently on their front porch for the wayward children to come back home. Therefore, as you wait for Jesus’ second coming, look for ways daily to help Christians make u-turns away from sin and turn back to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Inveterate Murmurers

In the 2004 film I Robot, Bridget Moynahan plays a robotic scientist who uses big words that Will Smith struggles to understand. While reading the book of Jude, I came across the term inveterate. This refers to having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change: Based upon the context of the passage below, this behavior has become a way of life.

These are inveterate murmurers (grumblers) who complain [of their lot in life], going after their own desires [controlled by their passions]; their talk is boastful and arrogant, [and they claim to] admire men’s persons and pay people flattering compliments to gain advantage, Jude 1:16.

During the first century, a few decades following the ascension of Jesus into heaven, the joy of many Christians had faded. According to Jude, too many church going individuals began to complain about their life. Rather than find a reason to celebrate life, negativity began to blind Christians from seeing their lives as half full. Subsequently, gossip and murmurs spread like gangrene within Christian communities.

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them], Philippians 4:8.

In a letter to the Church at Philippi, the apostle Paul provided a solution for inveterate murmurers. Instead of allowing your soul to become consumed by anxiety and stress, focus on the positive aspects of your life. While the current economy and price of gas may be hard to overlook, fix your minds on whatever is true and pure. As you meditate upon the good things in your life, you can break free from the bad habits of your past. May this blog lift your spirits and point you in the right direction.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 119: There You Go

Caedmon’s Call is one of the Christian groups that I lean on when an emotional pick me up. This group led by Cliff Young on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, blends traditional folk with alternative rock. If I’m in a mellow mood, I prefer Shifting Sand. Yet, my favorite and today’s featured song is There You Go. Both of these appear on the 40 Acres album. While now disbanded, Caedmon’s Call has aged well with time.

Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them [b]into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you [c]all the days ([d]perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age. [e]Amen (so let it be), Matthew 28:19-20.

Following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus into heaven, Christians possessed a sense of urgency to fulfill the Great Commission introduced by Jesus in the passage above. This plan began by telling all of your friends and family about Jesus. When the disciples ran out of names, they traveled to surrounding towns and villages. Once stage two was completed, the ends of the earth is the final step. If you ever get bored spiritually, listen to God’s still small voice and you’ll go where the Holy Spirit leads.

by Jay Mankus

The Testimony of God

If you’re ever had some sort of supernatural experience, you may find it hard to tell a friend that you’ve just seen a ghost, caught a glimpse of a UFO or entertained an angel who suddenly disappears. This is the premise of Joan of Arcadia which ran for two full seasons from 2003-2005. Amber Tamblyn plays Joan Girardi who continues to have daily encounters with God. To avoid being labeled as crazy, Joan keeps this relationship secret, waiting for the right time and person to disclose her testimony of God.

So there are three witnesses [b]in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One; and there are three witnesses on the earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree [are in unison; their testimony coincides], 1 John 5:7-8.

The disciple whom Jesus loved builds upon the concept of the Trinity that he introduced in John 1:1-6. John refers to witnesses in heaven and witnesses on earth. In the spiritual natural realm, God the Father, the Word which came to life, and the Holy Spirit continue to share their testimony in heaven. Meanwhile, God’s Spirit, living water, and the blood shed by Jesus serve as witnesses on earth today. While this concept is hard to grasp, stories of eyewitnesses during Easter Sunday have passed on their testimony.

If we accept [as we do] the testimony of men [if we are willing to take human authority], the testimony of God is greater (of stronger authority), for this is the testimony of God, even the witness which He has borne regarding His Son, 1 John 5:9.

The apostle Paul provides a blue print for modern day testimonies in Galatians 1:11-24. When I became a Christian in high school, I had no idea of what a testimony was and why it is necessary. Yet, as I attended various conferences, retreats and summer camps, the stories that guest speakers shared were testimonies. Like the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” as you evolve spiritually and draw closer to God, lessons are learned that might help others. These testimonies of God are crucial for helping struggling Christians find their way back to Jesus. May this blog inspire you to share your own testimony this Memorial Day.

by Jay Mankus

Keeping Your Soul Well

To an ordinary person, the soul is an immaterial part of a human being. Yet, once an individual becomes spiritually enlightened, souls become the essence of who you are, and the person God wants you to be. At the beginning of a first century letter, John prays for the prosperity of bodies and the wellness of souls. Building upon the words of Proverbs 4:23, John is concerned with protecting the wellspring of life.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers, 3 John 1:2.

The prosperity movement in the church has left countless souls feeling disappointed and empty. The idea that if you give x amount of money to this cause, you will receive a bounty full of blessings is not accurate. This concept taken from Malachi 3:8-10 is based upon tithing. When Christians reach a point in their faith of complete trust in God to provide, there is a promise to open the storehouses of heaven. To avoid a long-drawn-out biblical debate, these blessings come in many shapes and forms.

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might, Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

Jesus quotes Moses words in the passage above in Matthew 22:37-40. One way to keep your soul well is by making God your top priority in life, Matthew 6:33-34. As Christians mature and reach an understanding of God’s daily bread from Israel’s days of wandering in the wilderness, human effort is taken out of this equation. Somehow and someway as Christians seek God’s righteousness first, mysterious and unexplainable things begin to happen. Some may never reach this degree of faith, but if you do, you’ll be eager to protect and guard your heart so that your soul remains well.

by Jay Mankus

Under the Power of the Evil One

Whether you receive your news from cable, social media or local television, current events suggest that the world is falling apart. Beneath the surface, there are spirits of anger, hatred, and rage that result in chaos, violence and war. New Testament authors in the Bible point to a supernatural force that incites unknowing individuals toward evil acts. The apostle Paul provides a scapegoat: the fallen angel Lucifer.

We know [positively] that we are of God, and the whole world [around us] is under the power of the evil one, 1 John 5:19.

One of Jesus’ disciples makes a powerful declaration in the passage above. Members of the body of Christ know God without a doubt, absolutely through a daily personal relationship. Whether you fellowship with other believers, pray or study the Bible, faith results in spiritual clarity. Meanwhile, anyone who does not seek God end up falling under the influence and power of the evil one.

In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God], Ephesians 2:2.

The apostle Paul points to the Devil’s past. the archangel Lucifer who was kicked out of heaven. Despite losing his eternal destiny in heaven, this prince of the power of the air maintains his angelic powers. Ezekiel 28:14-15 details that 1/3 of the angels were banished from heaven along with Lucifer. These fallen angels now serve the Devil as real spiritual demons. This is the powerful force that is present on earth which corrupts human beings who aren’t strong enough to resist the power of the Evil One.

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

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