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Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Just Make Up Your Mind

Analysis paralysis occurs when an individual overthinks all of the possible alternatives. This mind numbing process often prevents you from making an important decision. I tend to narrow my choices down to two or three things before deciding. When you’re buying a car or purchasing a home, the price or location will influence your finally decision. However, at some point you have to make up your mind and commit to a decision.

[These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth. Now just as [a]Jannes and Jambres were hostile to and resisted Moses, so these men also are hostile to and oppose the Truth. They have depraved and distorted minds, and are reprobate and counterfeit and to be rejected as far as the faith is concerned, 2 Timothy 3:7-8.

Apparently, paralysis from over analysis isn’t new. In a first century letter, the apostle Paul addresses a group of women who were consumed by inquiring about and gathering information. All of this content clouded their minds as they were unable to make a decision about God’s Word. This refusal is compared to the actions of Jannes and Jambres who became hostile toward and resisted the teaching of Moses.

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. 15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he [g]examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him], 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.

During a visit to Greece, Paul was frustrated by the philosophers who were full of knowledge, but lacked common sense. In the passage above, Paul reveals how the nonspiritual struggle to accept God’s existence. In the book Restoring the Foundations, this concept is referred to as ungodly beliefs. These beliefs are picked up via friends, parents and others throughout life. Until individuals gain access to the Holy Spirit by entering into a relationship with God, Romans 5:3-5, human beings will continue to struggle to make up their minds.

by Jay Mankus

When You Let Someone Down

As a child, whenever my mom yelled my full name, I immediately knew that I did something wrong. When expressions like “what were you thinking” or “I’m so ashamed of you” followed, this was a clear indicator that I let someone down. Whenever people that you care about or love are disappointed by your actions, human consciences produce spirits of conviction and guilt. Seeing the grief that you cause others to feel is not a welcomed sight.

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance, Ephesians 5:1-2.

In a letter to the Church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul addresses individuals who have not lived up to biblical standards. The ideal goal is to become an imitator of God. This is accomplished by emulating the love and life of Jesus. As individuals become willing to offer their lives as a living sacrifice, the Holy Spirit can replace sinful tendencies. Yet, as the Psalmist reminded the apostle Paul, “there is no one righteous; not even one,” Romans 3:9-12.

But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God’s consecrated people). Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God], Ephesians 5:3-4.

Subsequently, every day human beings continue to do the opposite of their initial intentions, Romans 7:15-16. You may be able to tame these sinful cravings temporarily through discipline, but when you let your guard down you will disappoint someone. Beside confession and acts of contrition, James 5:16, reconciliation takes time. Although you can’t go through life trying to please other people, you can develop a will to devote yourself to God.

by Jay Mankus

The Haves and Have Nots

The expression “the haves and have nots” dates back to the 17th century. One of the initial usages was based upon your socio-economic status. This superficial characterization focused on anyone who was living in poverty or did not have much money. As the wealthy flashed signs of their wealth while looking down on the less fortunate, the haves and the have nots was conceived.

To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; To another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:8-9.

The apostle Paul created his own list of the haves and have nots in the first century. However, the context of this list was based upon spiritual gifts given to Christians within the Church at Corinth. Some individuals received special powers such as healing, prophecy and the ability to perform miracles. Apparently, these talents were going to some of their heads, looking down upon people with lesser gifts such as giving, hospitality and service.

To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ([c]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues. 11 All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses, 1 Corinthians 12:10-11.

Not much has changed over the past 2000 years. Occupations like doctors, lawyers, and scientists are held in high esteem while those forced to work in blue collared jobs are looked down upon. Regardless of how others view you, God wants Christians to focus on what they have, not what you don’t. Part of life is figuring out what you’re the best at and where you fit in. Once your spiritual gift is revealed to you, the rest of life should be spent looking for opportunities to apply your gift. Fan into flame what you have so that your life impacts the have nots.

by Jay Mankus

Failure is Part of the Process

As the sun rises on a new day, human beings typically have one of three decisions to make. Do you play it safe to avoid embarrassing yourself? Is today the day you take a chance by risking failure? Or will you decide to embrace the status quo by holding off on making a decision until tomorrow? Whatever choice you finally make, just remember that failure is part of the process in life.

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [c]character (approved faith and [d]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [e]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us, Romans 5:3-5.

If you are fortunate enough to have success early on in life, human nature has a tendency to relax, to rest upon past victories. When no one else challenges, threatens or usurps you as the best, you’re probably not around stiff competition. If you have never tasted defeat by winning over and over again, you’re either amazing, blessed or hardship has yet to introduce itself to you.

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength), 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

In the two passages above, the apostle Paul suggests that failure is part of the process in life. Failure has a way of exposing all of your weaknesses. If you’re an athlete, being humiliated in front of family and friends can be demoralizing. Whether you’re a pitcher who is being shelled, a golfer who can’t hit it straight or a runner that finishes in last place, failure triggers that internal spark to drive competitive souls to learn and move on to live another day.

by Jay Mankus

One Step in Front of the Other

If you’re forced to travel a long distance by foot, you’ll get there if you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” is a song featured in the 1970 Christmas classic Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. The context of this show tune occurs following a conversation between a young Kris Kringle and the Winter Warlock. The morale embedded within the lyrics urges listeners to bounce back by getting up as soon as you fall.

Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, 1 Corinthians 6:18-19.

Whether you endure an embarrassing moment, a disappointing defeat or a self inflicted fall from grace, you can’t beat yourself up forever. The context of the passage above involved a sex scandal within the Church at Corinth. News of this inappropriate relationship quickly reached the apostle Paul. This portion of Paul’s letter provides advice for bouncing back spiritually.

You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body, 1 Corinthians 6:20.

Anyone who is struggling to break free from an addiction or bad habit, needs to quickly cut ties from this by shunning any traces of immorality. This includes the environment or the individuals who drag you in to participate. If you want to put your best foot forward, view their body as a holy temple where God’s Spirit resides. When you develop this mindset, you can begin to put one foot in front of the other so that you can eventually be set free,

by Jay Mankus

Touching the Top of the World

Erik Weihenmayer is not your typical mountain climber. Erik’s first big climb was a mountain in Denali back in 1995. This accomplishment inspired Weihenmayer to want to reach the top of the world. Not bad for a blind man who took 6 blind Tibetan teenagers on his 2001 expedition where his team successfully reached the north side of Mount Everest. After this amazing feat, one of Erik’s mentor said, “don’t let climbing Everest be the highlight of your life.”

Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them, Matthew 4:8.

This comment struck a nerve within Erik. Like any ambitious athlete, Weihenmayer began to search for his next mountain to climb. More than a decade later, Erik decided to take to the water, going between the mountains. On September 7th, 2014 Erik set out to Solo Kayak the entire 277 mile stretch of the Grand Canyon. Using his ears to steer him through the white water rapids of the Colorado River, Erik’s remaining senses made this feat possible.

And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve, Matthew 4:9-10.

When I look back on my own life, I’ve been told by numerous people that I couldn’t do this or that. While sometimes these individuals were correct in their assessment, I haven’t let the concerns of others prevent me from touching the top of the world. While I don’t have any aspirations to climb Mount Everest, I do want to live the abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10:10. As I draw near to God, I pray that I might possess the faith of Erik Weihenmayer so that the Holy Spirit will lift me to new heights.

by Jay Mankus

Promote Your Progress and Joy

Advance, boost, contribute to, develop, encourage, and further are words associated with promote. While modern promoters often serve as agents for professional athletes, one of the basic responsibilities for a Christian is to promote faith. Although this sounds easy to do, sharing the Bible with individuals who are hostile to God, Romans 8:7, can be thankless. However, if you see the big picture, winning souls, joy overflows when you lead someone into a personal relationship with Jesus.

Since I am convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and stay by you all, to promote your progress and joy in believing, Philippians 1:25.

While writing to a church that he helped build, Paul expresses his allegiance to Philippi. This commitment involves promoting their spiritual progress and joy of believing in Jesus. To an apostle, preaching and sharing the Gospel is the most important thing in the world. While there are other sources of good news that exist, to Paul, nothing compares to Jesus. This concept inspired the words of Philippians 4:6-7, as the peace of God surpasses all understanding.

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope, Romans 15:13.

The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in a letter to the Church at Rome. As faith is promoted, God fills Christians with hope, peace, and joy. As individuals begin to discover and fulfill God’s will for your life, this joy can overflow, bubbling over out of an abundance. Yet, when progress is put on hold, joy can quickly disappear. Like a car put in neutral, idle Christians lose their spiritual momentum. Therefore, if you want to get back on track, promote spiritual progress and the joy from faith in Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Be So Vague

Carly Simon released You’re So Vain in November 1972. One year earlier, Simon won a Grammy for New Artist of the Year. Vain refers to having an excessively high opinion of one’s abilities, appearance, or worth. At age 70, Simon recently wrote memoirs entitled Boys in the Trees. This addresses the inspiration behind You’re So Vain, a song about a self-obsessed lover, based upon a mixture of three of the men in her life at that time, including actor Warren Beatty. Unfortunately, in today’s age of Cancel Culture and Political Correctness, vain has been replaced by vague.

Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17.

When honest opinions are expressed or shared on social media, anyone who is offended by these comments often trigger a fire storm. Back in the early 1970’s, preachers nationwide responded to the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s with sermons filled with fire and brimstone. A half century later, individuals who left the church as teenagers are now part of the crowd condemning people of faith. If any Christian has the gall to state that marriage was designed as a lifelong commitment between a man or woman, a backlash will likely follow. Thus, many believers remain silent or keep their beliefs vague.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit, Ephesians 5:18.

In the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul sends a warning to members of the Church at Ephesus. Vague is compared with foolish and thoughtless acts. Like the words of a former disciple of Jesus, Revelation 3:16, if you find yourself somewhere in between, God will eventually spit you out. One verse later, Paul provides advice for overcoming vagueness. As Christians start to pray for and pursue the Holy Spirit, vague comments will be replaced by a heart of conviction. Therefore, the next time you are afraid to voice what you believe, let the Holy Spirit rid your life of another vague answer.

by Jay Mankus

Rushing to Find a Replacement

Frank Costello was the inspiration behind Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone’s character in the 1972 classic film the Godfather. On Thursday, February 17th, America lost the Godfather of talk radio. Rush Limbaugh’s talent on loan from God has been returned and now conservatives are rushing to find a replacement for his voice. Rush Limbaugh has been a beacon of truth since 1988 when his nationally syndicated midday radio show began. At the height of his popularity, 40 million people tuned into Rush’s radio program. Former President Donald Trump recently said, “To these people who listened to him every day, it was like a religious experience to a lot of people,”

This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, direct). This same John’s garments were made of camel’s hair, and he wore a leather girdle about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the country round about the Jordan went out to him; And they were baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins, Matthew 3:3-6.

In the early first century, many Jews believed that John the Baptist was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. Long before the days of radio, John’s popularity spread through word of mouth. Despite John’s native appearance and attire, he was a man of great substance. As John preached on the banks of the Jordan River, hearts were convicted to change their current direction in life. Overwhelmed by guilt, exposed from their conscience, individuals confessed their sins and were baptized. Some of John’s followers may have viewed him as their spiritual godfather.

I indeed baptize you in (with) water because of repentance [that is, because of your changing your minds for the better, heartily amending your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins]. But He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy or fit to take off or carry; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out, Matthew 3:11-12.

Despite the praise heaped upon him, John remained humble, recognizing the position God wanted him to play. While John baptized believers with water, Jesus introduced first century followers to the Holy Spirit. When John was arrested, some of his followers were hesitant to turn their attention to Jesus. Yet, as word of Jesus’ ministry began to spread, previous concerns faded away. Anytime you lose a great leader, it’s hard to find a replacement, a substitute to fill this void. Yet, if you believe in the promises of the Old Testament, Micah 2:12, God is always working behind the scenes to raise up a remnant of future leaders.

by Jay Mankus

Taking Off the Training Wheels

The first bicycle was invented by German Baron Karl von Drais in 1817. The British developed training wheels years later to stabilize the back wheel of a bicycle. Training wheels are an additional wheel or wheels mounted parallel to the rear wheel of a bicycle that assist learners until they have developed a usable sense of balance on their bicycle. In a first century letter to the Church at Galatia, the apostle Paul refers to spiritual training wheels.

Now before the faith came, we were perpetually guarded under the Law, kept in custody in preparation for the faith that was destined to be revealed (unveiled, disclosed), 24 So that the Law served [to us Jews] as our trainer [our guardian, our guide to Christ, to lead us] until Christ [came], that we might be justified (declared righteous, put in right standing with God) by and through faith, Galatians 3:23-24.

Due to legalism that infiltrated this church via a religious sect known as the Judaizers, Paul addresses the role that the Jewish law should play in Christianity. While Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as a counselor, Paul compares the Torah to a personal trainer. The Old Testament was designed as a guardian, to guide followers of God to Christ. While the Judaizers tried the overemphasize the Law, Paul reminds new converts to Jesus that individuals are justified by faith, not works.

But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood), Galatians 3:25.

In the passage above, Paul is calling first century Christians to take off their training wheels. This is accomplishing through living by faith. Following a set of rules is good for training, but faith is designed to live out what you believe. Just as a young child develops enough confidence to ride their bike without training wheels, mature Christians need to start applying all that they have learned, Joshua 1:8. Therefore, if you want to make a difference in 2021, let faith be your guide.

by Jay Mankus

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