RSS Feed

Tag Archives: keep in step with the Holy Spirit

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

What am I Doing and Where am I Going?

I was introduced to the concept of evaluation early on as a youth director.  Through conferences, seminars and a youth ministry trade school, I learned the importance of gaining feedback from participants.  During my decade of teaching high school, I incorporated this into my curriculum, encouraging students to be critical, honest and fair.  After years of fine tuning, the last day of each class I asked five questions.  What did you like?  What did you dislike?  What topic(s) did I not spent enough time addressing?  What topic(s) did I spent too much time covering?  What changes would you make to improve this class?  After giving students five minutes in silence to write down their opinions, I gave individuals an open forum to express their feelings verbally if so inclined.  While some discussion were brief, others carried on for several minutes.  These papers were collected, stored in notes books and became the foundation for improving my curriculum each summer.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

Unfortunately, outside of the classroom it’s easy to become so consumed with life that you forget what you’re really doing and where your going?  Thus, I must confess that as I write blog after blog, I often forget the purpose for Express Yourself 4Him.  Initially, I wanted to create a modern day diary using the Confessions of Augustine as my inspiration.  The autobiography of this 4th century theologian from Hippo details Augustine’s conversion to Christ and the evolution of his understanding of the Bible.  As Augustine reflected on life while sitting on his back porch, the Holy Spirit began to unveil pieces to the puzzle called life.  Over the weekend, God convicted me of my haphazard nature, sensing a need to become more focused.  Thus, in the coming days, weeks and year, I plan on focusing on two main areas.  First, continue to use the Bible to help explain and understand current events.  Second, become more interactive by using the comments I receive as a source for future blogs.  If I don’t help my readers address their concerns, issues and problems of others, I’m missing an opportunity to use my God given gift.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you, Psalm 32:8.

If you have ever played a team sport team, sometimes the play called by a coach is flawed.  If you are quick or shrewd enough, you might be able to freelance enough to turn a loss into a gain.  This same concept applies to life.  There will be circumstances, days and scenarios where what normally works is ineffective.  Therefore, you have to improvise, change while on the fly.  This is where individuals must learn to place their sole trust in the Lord.  Yes, like anything else, this can be scary, requiring blind faith.  Like the Psalmist suggests above, this leap of faith involves counsel, instruction and teaching.  If you really want to make sure you are on the right track, Bible Study, prayer and worship is available to most everyone.  As I start my sixth as a blogger in February, I pray that the Lord enables me to keep in step with the Holy Spirit so I can minister to those in need.

by Jay Mankus

When the Conductor Arrives

In the absence of leadership, chaos often ensues.  Subsequently, if you want to get from point A to point B, you need to wait for a guide who you can trust.  While some grow impatient choosing someone without proven experience, the faithful wait it out despite the uncertainty.  Time has a way of straightening out unanswered questions, revealing glimpses of God’s providence.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

Without God’s direction, anyone can wander far from the life the Lord designed for you.  For reasons unknown, trials come and go unannounced, wearing on souls who are put through a series of tests.  In some ways, these unpleasant experiences serve as a way to nudge individuals closer to God’s will.  Yet, in trying to comprehend the whys, putting the pieces together to life’s mysteries, some lose faith.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose, Romans 8:28.

One of the roles Jesus plays is a conductor, leading his lost sheep in the right direction.  Like a maestro, God has a way of taking average people and bringing them together to make amazing music.  Unfortunately, when things don’t go your way, its hard to see God’s hand at work.  Thus, its vital to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, ready to jump on the train to heaven when the conductor arrives.

by Jay Mankus

 

Prayers that Please God

If you admire, are fond of someone or respect them, a common response is to please these people.  Teenagers tend to court the opposite sex, trying to curry favor or earn another date.  Students will stick up for or go the extra mile for their favorite coach or teacher.  If this is true, why can’t adults begin to study prayers which please God.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 1 Timothy 2:3.

According to the apostle Paul, one such prayer involves leaders and those in authority.  Beyond lifting specific names up to the Lord, content should include godliness. holiness and peace.  However, once you leave this outline, its important to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  Usually, I find myself drawn to passages in the Bible.  As individuals begin to claim God’s promises, power is unleashed and on occasion prayers are answered instantaneously.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

For those who need an aid to prayer, several acronyms exist.  PRAY stands for petition, requests, adoration and yourself.  ACTS refers to asking, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.  Whatever you choose, try to find a quiet place, void of distractions.  From here, open your heart, be honest to God and lean on God’s grace and mercy.  As you develop a daily routine, may you begin to verbalize prayers that please God.

by Jay Mankus

Graduating on to the Next Phase in Life

Commencement refers to the time when something begins.  Thus, every spring colleges and high schools hand out degrees and diplomas for completing a required set of courses.  After these ceremonies end, its time for individuals to begin their next phase in life.  Subsequently, as my oldest son graduates today its time for James to prepare himself for Liberty University and possibly a spot as a pole vaulter at the Division 1 level.

When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom, Luke 2:42.

One of the 4 gospels suggests Jesus celebrated a bar-mitzvah after becoming a teenager.  The Jewish faith continues this tradition today, giving young men and women an opportunity to publicly share what they have learned about the Torah.  Thus, Jesus was able to teach about the Word of God at the synagogue for the first time in Luke 2.  However, Jesus waited 17 more years before beginning his three year ministry on earth.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Perhaps, the apostle Paul was reflecting upon his own bar-mitzvah in the passage above.  Regardless of the context, modern churches offer those who seek the Lord a chance to complete their confirmation.  Essentially, this year long process or longer in some denominations, encourages boys and girls to take ownership of their faith.  At the end of this process, like graduation, its time keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.  Whether someone is going off to college, participating in a mission trip or starting a new career, the time has arrived to graduate on to the next phase in life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

When the Holy Spirit Takes Over

There are several theories about what will occur in the end times on earth.  Known as eschatology, this term refers to the theological interpretations of biblical content on this subject.  Although movies have portrayed some of  these views, few writers have touched one of the teachings of Jesus.  A sign of the last days is a supernatural phenomena where the Holy Spirit literally falls upon Christians and takes over their conversations.

Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit, Mark 13:11.

The context of the passage above will take place during a period of persecution of believers, when the world will hate Christianity.  At the looks of the current cultural climate, this day may not be far off; possibly in its infancy stage.  Often buried in the news, crucifixions, imprisonment and  mass executions of Christians is occurring throughout the world, weekly in Africa and the Middle East.

Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved, Mark 13:13.

In my life, I’ve experienced two moments where I blacked out, not knowing what I said during a conversation.  However, based upon others who came to me afterward, the only logical explanation I can come up with is the Holy Spirit took over.  During the first sermon I ever preached, crowds of people came to the altar to accept Christ and confess their sins.  I only remember my first and closing sentence, the rest is a blur.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

The only other experience similar to Jesus’ words occurred when I helped my spiritual mentor,Ken Horne, a youth pastor in Wilmington, with an overnight lock in.  After bowling at a local alley, the youth group spent the night at church.  However, one individual was a distraction, an evil presence, affecting the morale of the others.  Not sure what to do, I took him aside when the Holy Spirit took over.  The next thing I knew we were praying as this rebellious teenager was accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself with your back against the wall, draw near to God and perhaps the Holy Spirit will take over.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: