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Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Again and Again

Again is an adverb, the act of returning to a previous condition or position.  Synonyms include also, besides, furthermore and moreover.  Again could be a sign of consistency, a positive trait for those who are diligent, focused and poised for success.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, again may refer to addiction, bad habits or downward spirals which ensnare troubled souls.

This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:22-23.

If you examine life from a spiritual perspective, again and again highlights the inability of human beings to continually do that which is right.  The apostle Paul declares in the passage above that no one in the world is righteous.  Although you may possess good intentions and seek to do the right thing, sooner or later you will gratify the desires of your flesh.  This natural inclination convinces minds using justification and rationalization to bend the rules every now and then.

For sin, seizing its opportunity through the commandment, beguiled and completely deceived me, and using it as a weapon killed me [separating me from God], Romans 7:11.

If you ask any drug addict, breaking free from using a specific substance requires extreme measures.  You have to purge yourself from the atmosphere, climate and any traces that will tempt you to give in.  Unfortunately, only a small portion of addicts are able to remain clean.  Appetites, cravings and dependence is so strong, few have the will power to resist.  Subsequently, again and again, lines are crossed to indulge in forbidden fruit.  If this blog finds you held hostage to sin, may the Holy Spirit send godly mentors into your life to hold you accountable and escape the unhealthy patterns of your past.

by Jay Mankus

 

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What are You Still Lacking?

If you asked a recent high school graduate the same question after completing a four year degree in college, perspectives would likely change.  Human nature tends to make young people think they are infallible.  When you add knowledge, wisdom and a wealth of information to this equation, some will likely think they know it all, now smarter than their parents.  This is the state we find the rich young ruler in the passage below, only lacking one thing in life.

A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone, Luke 18:18-19.

Searching for eternal security, this man sought out Jesus, hoping to discover the secret to possessing eternal life.  Immediately, Jesus catches this ruler off guard by demonstrating humility, giving God the credit for his goodness.  From here Jesus turns his attention to God’s standards in the Torah, the first five books in the Old Testament.  Obtaining knowledge of the Bible is one thing, but applying these principles separate average believers from genuine people of faith.  Perhaps, this rich young ruler thought he could enter heaven by being a good person.

You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk],” Luke 18:20-22.

There are two invisible forces which drag and nudge souls in different directions.  The Holy Spirit convicts hearts and minds, revealing imperfections and shortcomings.  Meanwhile, the sinful nature is more accommodating, making those who stray from God think more highly about themselves than they should.  While the Spirit led the apostle Paul to claim he was the greatest sinner of all in 1 Timothy 1:15, my flesh made me feel better the further I slipped away from God in college.  This spiritual dilemma exists today, compared to a spiritual war in Galatians 5:16-18.  Thus, if you really want to know what are you still lacking, draw close to God and He will make you whole.

by Jay Mankus

 

Death Knows Where to Find You

The older you get, the presence of death becomes more of a reality.  In the past year, I have lost a cousin, aunt and father in law.  At the last funeral I attended, I received news that my wife’s aunt Rose was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Last week, Rose went home to be with the Lord.  A homecoming in heaven, but a painful reminder of our temporary status on earth.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

According to Solomon, our bodies are on loan from God.  The Hebrew word for Adam is Adamah, symbolic of God forming Adam’s body out of the earth.  The moment death strikes human beings, souls return back to God.  While your body is left to decay beneath the ground, your spirit awaits judgment before spending eternity in heaven or hell.

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

The apostle Paul referred to human bodies as a temple.  When the Holy of holies was torn in two during the earthquake immediately following Jesus’ death on a cross, this event set the stage God’s presence to no longer be limited to a physical building.  Rather, Jesus’ resurrection and the Day of Pentecost opened the door for the Holy Spirit to enter your life.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” Revelation 21:4.

In the last chapter of the Bible, John has a vision of Jesus in heaven.  Seeing the toll death takes on friends, family and relatives, Jesus promises to provide an eternally environment where they will be no more tears.  Heaven is the final destination where God will make you whole.  Since death knows where to find you, make sure your plans are secured before your time is up, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

Properly Utilizing God’s Power

Prior to beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit.  Over the next forty days, the Devil began scheming of ways on how to trick Jesus into improperly using God’s power.  The longer Jesus went without food, fasting and praying to spiritually prepare his mind, the more vulnerable his body became.  Thus, in the passage below the Devil tempted Jesus to use God’s power for selfish reasons.  In a game of Truth or Dare, the Devil dared Jesus to show off, calling upon angels to keep him from falling.  Responding with Scripture, Jesus corrects the Devil’s abuse of God’s power.

Then he led Jesus to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle (highest point) of the temple, and said [mockingly] to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 10 for it is written and forever remains written, He will command His angels concerning You to guard and protect You,’ and, they will lift You up on their hands, So that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus replied to him, “It is said [in Scripture], you shall not tempt the Lord your God [to prove Himself to you],’” Luke 4:9-12.

Before gathering a ministry team of disciples, Jesus experienced the best and worst from his fellow Jews.  Upon entering a town, Jesus went to the local synagogue, debating, listening and teaching God fearing Jews.  Jesus quoted the Old Testament, speaking with authority without any education or extensive training.  On one day, Jesus spoke about God’s grace extending to Gentiles, non Jewish believers.  This comment turned the crowd in Nazareth against Jesus, committing heresy in their eyes.  This uprising forced Jesus outside of town to a nearby cliff, as residents attempted to push Jesus off the edge to his death.  On this occasion with his life in danger, Jesus properly utilized God’s power, like a ghost, Jesus passed by the crowds escaping to Capernaum.

As they heard these things [about God’s grace to these two Gentiles], the people in the synagogue were filled with a great rage; 29 and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the crest of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to hurl Him down the cliff. 30 But passing [miraculously] through the crowd, He went on His way, Luke 4:28-30.

Today, the debate of properly utilizing God’s power continues.  Should you treat God like a supernatural Santa Claus, praying to the Lord with a long Christmas wish list?  Or should you only ask for things in accordance with God’s will?  Do you take Jesus literally, “ask and you will receive?”  What is a good middle ground, a place to start?  If you use Matthew 7:12 as an outline for prayer, this may clear up any confusion that you currently are struggling to grasp.  Prayer is a three step process, asking, seeking insight to explain unanswered prayers and continue to persist, wrestling with the Lord in prayer.  May this passage guide you to understand how to properly utilize God’s power.

by Jay Mankus

Relapse

Backslide, deteriorate, revert and sink are words associated with relapse.  This condition is a byproduct of falling back into old habits.  Whether someone becomes lazy, out of sync or unfocused, it doesn’t take much for human beings to drift back into patterns of their childhood.  Perhaps, this explains why addiction is so hard to beat as weakened souls are often sucked back by demons of your past.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil, 1 John 3:8.

The average person doesn’t wake up eager to sin, longing to worship the devil.  Rather, the practice of sinning is conceived within minds.  Subtle thoughts set the process of temptation into motion.  Whenever anyone strays slightly from God’s commands, compromise gives birth to a lowering of personal standards.  For those heading off in this direction, relapse is inevitable.  Yet, many are surprised by how far and quickly this downward spiral occurs.

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God,” Luke 9:62.

The context of the passage above refers to someone who wanted to be one of Jesus’ disciples.  The individual who is turned down by Jesus simply wanted to say goodbye to his family.  Yet, the point Jesus was trying to make is that people who have a tendency to relapse won’t set a godly example for others to follow.  In the last month, conviction has pierced my heart as my own life has been a poor model, not fit for God’s kingdom.  I must confess that I have relapsed back to my shy days of an unconfident stutterer.  Instead of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, I am defeated, void of any spiritual victory.  Thus, I am in desperate need to heed the call of Silverline’s song, Never Look Back so I can begin to turn my life around.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Coup d’état

The pronouncement of a coup d’état derives from the Spanish expression golpe de estado. Commonly used in Spain and South America, this refers to a formal explanation for the deposing of a regnant government.  Ousting, overthrowing and seizing power is justified with an installation of a new government, considered in the best interest for the future of a country.  Whether this is true or not does not matter as long as any opposition forces are eliminated.

17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like [a flash of] lightning, Luke 10:17-18.

Coup d’etat’s are not limited to the political realm.  Rather, one spiritual elite conceived a plan to alter God’s grand design for planet earth.  Instead of allowing mankind to rule, a fallen archangel conspired with his cohorts, a third of heavens angels to regain control.  Thus, this sly creature entered a snake to commence operation sin.  Sure, the thought of a woman talking to a snake doesn’t make much sense, but prior to the confusion of speech within Babel, Genesis 11:1-9, some scholars believe animals were initially able to talk with human beings.

Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”- Genesis 3:1

The Coup of all coups began with one subtle question, “did God really say?”  After a persuasive conversation, it didn’t take long before minds were teased with the possibility of becoming like God.  This thought was too tempting to let go of, day dreaming of what this might be like.  Without much resistance, Adam and Eve handed over their authority of earth over to Lucifer who remains in power today as ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2.  What a waste, foregoing the future of a perfect life on earth to indulge in an instant of gratification that quickly fades.

13 For such men are counterfeit apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:13-14.

Unfortunately, the Coup of all coups continues today in relative obscurity.  The worse part is that Satan has deceived some church leaders to twist and alter truth of the Bible.  This has led certain Christian denominations to not believe in the Devil.  The watering down of God’s Word is enabling individuals to be deceived daily while Satan continues to masquerade as an angel of light.  May this blog awaken hearts and alert minds to this spiritual danger.  May the Holy Spirit give you eyes to see through this darkness so that Satan’s coup d’état doesn’t destroy another life.

by Jay Mankus

A Message of Hope Forgotten with Time

Its not very often that the same generation is able to witness three of the greatest miracles of all time.  First century residents living along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea were fortunate eyewitnesses to these miraculous events.  A few months prior to the census in the days of Caesar Augustus, a priest reflects upon his encounter with an angel.  The only problem is that Zacharias becomes mute due to his initial doubts.  Thus, Zacharias is forced to participate in the very first game of Charades to explain what happened behind closed doors while in the temple.  At his son John’s circumcision, Zacharias regains his ability to speak.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zacharias begins to prophesize about the hope that Israel and the world will soon experience.

And Mary said,“My soul magnifies and exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For He has looked [with loving care] on the humble state of His maidservant;
For behold, from now on all generations will count me blessed and happy and favored by God! – Luke 1:46-48

Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth is the first to be made aware of the conception of God’s son.  The moment Mary visit Elizabeth during the final three months of her pregnancy, the sound of Mary’s voice caused John to leap in her womb.  Immediately following this, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirt as she begins to prophecize about Mary’s virgin birth.  Although engaged to be married to Joseph, the Holy Spirit supernaturally used one sperm from God the Father to conceive, enabling Mary to be pregnant without any physical or sexual contact.  The news of this reality overwhelms Mary, inspiring what the Bible calls Mary’s song.  The beginning of this song is highlighted above as Mary praises God for this special anointing and blessing.

Now Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him, and he prophesied, saying,“Blessed (praised, glorified) be the Lord, the God of Israel, Because He has visited us and brought redemption to His people, Luke 1:67-68.

Thirty three years later, Mary watched helplessly as her son Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross.  Although the Passion of the Christ depicts Mary watching Jesus being flogged thirty nine times, its unclear whether Mary was present for each of these violent lashings.  Mary watched Jesus be nailed to a cross, suffer and die hours later.  The only thing comparable today is a parent enduring the anguish of a child battling terminal cancer.  A few days later, the funeral is cancelled when an angel conveys that Jesus was raised from the dead.  According to Luke and the other gospel authors, Jesus appeared to several hundred eyewitnesses, walking, talking and revealing his scars to doubters.  While atheists, progressives and skeptics continue to plant doubt in the minds of modern day people of faith, these events are non-fiction.  Therefore, if you are in desperate need of good news, this blog is a message of hope forgotten by time.

by Jay Mankus

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