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Tag Archives: keep in step with the Holy Spirit

Enterprises of Darkness

The origins of darkness can be traced back to the Bible. Apart from its literal meaning, darkness is symbolic of evil in the Bible. George Lucas introduced the world to a new element of darkness in the 1977 Star Wars film. Using a battle between good and evil, Darth Vader’s character is a byproduct of giving into the dark side. Sounding the warning alarm in the New Testament, the apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter, Romans 7, to the consequences of living in darkness.

Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be soin contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them. For it is a shame even to speak of or mention the things that [such people] practice in secret, Ephesians 5:11-12.

When darkness becomes a way of life, individuals pursue what the apostle Paul refers to as enterprises of darkness. This undertaking often takes the form of an activity, endeavor, or venture. While Lucas speaks of “following the force,” the Bible urges followers of Jesus to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. If you choose the latter, souls will finds themselves slip sliding away, joining other wayward individuals in an enterprise of darkness.

[The Father] has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, Colossians 1:13.

If you do find yourself on the opposite side of God, hope is provided in the passage above. When your life does spin out of control, there is a deliverer who can lift you out of darkness. However, words are meaningless unless you are willing to change. Until acts of contrition display glimpses of light, dominion’s of darkness will continue to reign. Therefore, if you do come to your senses, Jesus is waiting for you with open arms to begin an enterprise inspired by God’s light, John 3:16-17.

by Jay Mankus

Getting Filled Up on Premium

As gas prices continue to rise nationwide, it’s important to know the different between regular and premium gasoline. While premium gas averages 60 cents more per gallon, fuel with a higher octane rating can stand up to higher compression before it detonates. When you buy cheaper gas, regular gas has a lower octane, increasing the likelihood that detonation happens at the wrong time. Depending upon your vehicle, the gas you choose will influence the engine, mileage, and performance.

Then he said, Go around and borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels—and not a few. And when you come in, shut the door upon you and your sons. Then pour out [the oil you have] into all those vessels, setting aside each one when it is full, 2 Kings 4:3-4.

The Bible refers to a different kind of oil in the passage above. This oil was used for cooking and lighting lamps. Down on her luck, a poor woman sought out Elisha to figure out a way to get out of debt. The widow was running out of options, open to a strange solution provided by this prophet of God. Although her neighbors were probably curious about why she was collecting a bunch of empty jars, this oil kept supernaturally flowing until every container was filled.

So she went from him and shut the door upon herself and her sons, who brought to her the vessels as she poured the oil. When the vessels were all full, she said to her son, Bring me another vessel. And he said to her, There is not a one left. Then the oil stopped multiplying, 2 Kings 4:5-6.

The oil in this Old Testament passage is symbolic of God, not wanting anything to go to waste. Once all the collected containers were filled, the oil ceased. From a New Testament perspective, oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. When individuals get filled by the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:4, Christians are elevated to a new level. According to the apostle Paul, when your oil level gets low, it is possible to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. Therefore, don’t forget to get filled up on God’s premium Spirit when you’re feeling low.

by Jay Mankus

Where is the Spirit of the Lord?

Prior to the New Testament, the Spirit of the Lord is described as a presence that takes over your body. Similar to a momentum swing during a sporting event, an inner confidence spreads as teammates begin to believe that victory is on the way, 1 Samuel 16:13-14. However, the Spirit of the Lord also has the ability to depart as well, like it did for King Saul. If God’s Spirit can come and go, learning to keep in step with the Holy Spirit is essential, Galatians 5:25.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom), 2 Corinthians 3:17.

Yet, the apostle Paul adds another element to the Spirit of the Lord in the passage above. Similar to his words on the fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, Paul explains what the Holy Spirit can do for you. First and foremost, the Spirit of the Lord brings freedom to those formally held hostage by addictions and cravings of their flesh. When the Spirit of the Lord is present, liberty is made possible through repentance.

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit, 2 Corinthians 3:18.

The Bible serves as a spiritual mirror for all human beings. If you are not reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis, God’s reflection slowly disappears. Thus, the Bible serves as a wardrobe, the entrance to the Holy Spirit like C.S. Lewis’ the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The more you open this living book, the greater your chances increase for accessing the Spirit of the Lord, Romans 10:17. As you draw near to God, the Spirit of the Lord will come close to you, James 4:7-8.

by Jay Mankus

Musical Chairs

I was first introduced to musical chairs in grade school. This group activity was used as an ice breaker, a fun exercise to get to know other students. However, when I entered high school, I was introduced to full contact musical chairs. What started out as a routine game, ended in a scrum for the final empty chair. While playing on an elevated stage in a gym, I bounced off one of my fellow competitors. Before I could regain my balance, I flew off the stage, going into a defensive tuck and roll.

Now therefore, [reverently] fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the [Euphrates] River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord, Joshua 24:14.

Last weekend, I heard an interesting sermon that used three different chairs. As Jentezen Franklin defined chairs labeled conflict, compromise, and commitment, human beings play their own game of musical chairs daily. Depending upon how you exercise free will, you will find yourself in one of these three chairs. Subsequently, the actions, choices, and decisions that you make become part of musical chairs of faith. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that they are actually playing this game.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, Joshua 24:15.

Those who select the chair of commitment tend to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. Whenever poor choices are made, convictions influence consciences to get up when the wrong chair is chosen. Meanwhile, the seat called compromise is like playing a game of hot potatoes. Depending upon your emotions, feelings or mood, decisions vary. Thus, carnal and fleshly desires tend to over rule spiritual hunger. The final chair is the least desirable, but takes little effort to sit down. The longer you stay here, the more comfortable you become. As you wake up today, choose commitment by following in the footsteps of Joshua.

by Jay Mankus

Special Endowments of Supernatural Energy

Endowments are the establishment of funds via donations for a foundation or institution. This gift serves as a means to finance and subsidize future benefactors such as cancer patients and education for less fortunate children. Conversation talk show host Rush Limbaugh used this concept to coin the phrase “talent on loan from God.” The apostle Paul takes this one step further in the passage below, referring to hidden gifts, personality traits, and talents that you were born with but not yet discovered.

Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed, 1 Corinthians 12:1.

Some of these spiritual gifts defy science with no rationale explanation. Thus, one translation of the Bible points to supernatural energy in the form of a Holy Ghost. These special gifts include healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and working miracles. Between the lines, other unique talents exist, often revealed later on in life. The driving force behind this blog is my ability to write in the Spirit. As long as I keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, concepts, ideas, and thoughts naturally flow out of my heart and mind. As I study the Bible, new revelations are unveiled weekly.

You know that when you were heathen, you were led off after idols that could not speak [habitually] as impulse directed and whenever the occasion might arise. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same., 1 Corinthians 12:2-4.

In a letter to the Church at Rome, Paul lists several spiritual endowments, Romans 12:6-8. If you are curious about your own spiritual gifts, there are church growth resources that include spiritual gift tests. Before taking one of these, your scores will vary depending upon your mood. The confident often score high in several categories whereas the humble tend to evaluate themselves with much lower scores. My spiritual gift was confirmed during a two day church conference on discernment. While interacting with other believers, Pastor Bruce opened my eyes to this unique ability to hear and discern God’s still small voice. While writing a teenager pastor, Paul urges Christians to fan into flame their spiritual gifts immediately, 2 Timothy 1:6.

by Jay Mankus

Unaware Addictions

What if your cell phone was lost and you didn’t have enough money to purchase a replacement? What would happen if a major blackout prevented you from streaming or watching your favorite shows for an entire weekend? If all of your internet passwords were changed without your knowledge, how would you survive without being able to access the worldwide net? How you answer these questions might reveal unaware addictions, formerly oblivious to you.

Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. 13 Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness, Romans 6:12-13.

The 6th chapter of Romans serves as spiritual assessment to expose the degree to which you indulge your flesh. The apostle Paul asks members of the church at Rome, “how are you currently offering your body?” Paul insinuates that human being are yielding to their flesh instead of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. If this assessment reveals an addiction, bad habit or weaknesses, what are you going to do to address this concern?

For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy]. 15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God’s favor and mercy? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? – Romans 6:14-15

In the passage above, Paul suggests that you are a slave to that which you obey. Perhaps, this explains why so many Americans are enslaved by fleshly cravings. Listening to your body to drink, eat or exercise seems so natural. Yet, what if you are so use to the norm that you have missed out on spiritually blessings? Jesus confesses that the spirit is willing, but the body is weak, Matthew 26:41. May this blog and the passages above inspire you to keep in step with the Holy Spirit rather than indulge your sinful nature.

by Jay Mankus

The Ancestry of Jesus

A day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear or see an advertisement for Ancestry.com. Whether this is simply a fad or successful business model, adults are beginning to ascertain their families history. Searches are accomplished through DNA tests and family tree kits to help individuals better understand their genealogy. Perhaps, its not a coincidence that the first chapter of the gospel summarizes the ancestry of Jesus.

The book of the ancestry (genealogy) of Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the son (descendant) of David, the son (descendant) of Abraham, Matthew L1.

One of Jesus’ disciples from the tribe of Levi briefly highlights 2000 years of Jesus’ family tree in the first chapter of the New Testament. Like any family, there are characters that don’t seem to fit, staining and tainting a families reputation. Since last names are more of a modern development, the Bible refers to people based upon where they were born and the town in which they reside. For example, Jesus of Nazareth.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place under these circumstances: When His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit. And her [promised] husband Joseph, being a just and upright man and not willing to expose her publicly and to shame and disgrace her, decided to repudiate and dismiss (divorce) her quietly and secretly. Matthew 1:18-19.

Despite possessing a lineage of an adulterer, habitual liar and prostitute, Matthew sets the stage for God’s anointing on the birth and life of Jesus. The hand of God, known as providence, was upon Mary and Joseph who each encountered an angel so that Jesus didn’t end up in a single parent home. This aspect of Jesus’ childhood illustrates that it doesn’t matter what happened in your families’ past. Rather, when you keep in step with the Holy Spirit, character, integrity and a good man is formed. If this upward trend continues throughout your own life, future descendants will be proud when they examine the legacy that you have left behind.

by Jay Mankus

On My Way

If you are searching for someone to follow, you’ll probably witness a fair share of blaming others, passing the buck and victimology. If you feel trapped by a negative environment, you might be tempted to sit tight, unsure of where to go and what to do. However, at some point you have to take a leap of faith. As you endure this internal tug of war, what is keeping you from going on your way?

O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?] – Galatians 3:1-2

During the first century, the apostle Paul visited the region of Galatia. The four cities which comprised this church are Antioch (near Pisidia), Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. Apparently, a religious sect arose from Galatia and infiltrated this church. Thus, Paul writes a letter inquiring about the Judaizers who added Jewish practices to salvation. A modern comparison would be if you are not baptized in a specific way, you’re not really saved. Paul wants to get these believers back on track so that they can go in the way where God desires.

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth? This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church], Galatians 5:7-9.

While most people who have attended church at some point in life have heard of the sinful nature, few know the inspiration behind Paul’s words in Galatians 5:16-25. When legalism, peer pressure and uncertainty paralyze your faith, souls must be awakened to the invisible spiritual forces that are present. Until individuals learn how to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, fear will keep many Christians stagnant. Therefore, if you want to go on your way by faith, listen and learn by implementing Paul’s teaching to the Galatians.

by Jay Mankus

A Messenger of God

Romans gods began taking on the forms that people would recognize today during the dynasty of the Etruscan kings.  This reign of the city of Rome took place during the 6th century BC.  During this period, Romans adapted a group of three Etruscan gods as the focus of state worship.  Based upon the passage below, the city of Lystra also practiced the worship of ancient Greek gods as well.

Now at Lystra a man sat who was unable to use his feet, for he was crippled from birth and had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, and Paul looked intently at him and saw that he had faith to be healed, 10 and said with a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet.” And he jumped up and began to walk. 11 And the crowds, when they saw what Paul had done, raised their voices, shouting in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” – Acts 14:8-11

This belief led eyewitnesses of a healing to refer to Paul and Barnabas as gods in human form.  This wasn’t a joke as Barnabas was nicknamed Zeus and Paul Hermes.  Based upon these labels, Barnabas is the elder statesman where as Paul is the messenger, the voice of God.  Whenever you witness a miracle, events that follow are often seen in a positive light.  Thus, as Paul began to speak following the healing of a crippled man, the crowd was amazed by his words.

They began calling Barnabas, Zeus [chief of the Greek gods], and Paul, Hermes [messenger of the Greek gods], since he took the lead in speaking. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance of the city, brought bulls and garlands to the city gates, and wanted to offer sacrifices with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are only men of the same nature as you, bringing the good news to you, so that you turn from these useless and meaningless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them, Acts 14:12-15.

For someone who have posted over 1,700 blogs, the quality of my message varies.  Sometimes writer’s block causes me to struggle to complete an average blog.  On some occasions, inspiration naturally flows out of me resulting in a creative blog.  However, whenever I keep in step with the Holy Spirit by staying in tune with the Bible, a post turns into a message from God.  While I don’t possess the gift of healing like the apostles, I am committed to listening to God’s still small voice so that I can fulfill my role as a messenger of God.

by Jay Mankus

Realigning Your Life with Faith

To align refers to arranging or placing something in a straight line.  For example, every three to five thousand miles, cars experience basic decay known as wear and tear on its’ body.  Fender benders, pot holes and uneven payment will eventually knock a vehicle out of alignment.  When your tire alignment is off, your ability to drive safely is compromised.  Thus, anyone who owns an automobile should schedule regular check ups three to four times a year to ensure a long and prosperous life for this valuable possession.

I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God [with faith and humility] like a child will not enter it at all, Luke 18:17.

In the passage above, Jesus refers to a different kind of alignment.  According to a first century doctor, Jesus and his disciples weren’t always on the same page.  Perhaps, these twelve men began to develop their own beliefs, opinions and views about life.  Apparently, exasperating children, treating them like a second class citizens infuriated Jesus.  The disciple’s flawed mindset resulted in a public rebuke.  Whether you are young or old, every day, week and month, Christians need to realign their faith with the word of God, Bible.

For there is [only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and mankind, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom [a substitutionary sacrifice to atone] for all, the testimony given at the right and proper time, 1 Timothy 2:5-6.

Instead of visiting a dealership, local garage or your personal mechanic, the apostle Paul reveals where believers need to turn to for a spiritual realignment.  Since there is only one mediator between God and man, the most logical place to begin is with Jesus.  Crying out to God in prayer is the first course of action.  Once your confess your issue or problem at hand, keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, to lead you to the proper biblical advice.  Just as Jesus often realigned his disciples, studying the Bible at home and in a group setting will enable you to realign your own faith.  Use the first day of 2019 as a starting block for this new year.

by Jay Mankus

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