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Tag Archives: keep in step with the Holy Spirit

The One Who Keeps You From Stumbling

King David likely wrote the below Psalm as he was reminded of his days serving as a lowly shepherd. David wrote about the rocky terrain which shepherds often faced after more favorable fields of grass were depleted. As a former cross-country runner, I know all about stumbling and twisting my ankles during races on an uneven terrain. Yet, David speaks of a God who can keep you from stumbling.

The God who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect? 33 He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places, Psalm 18:32-33.

Despite this perspective, David did stumble and fall, big time, as described by 2 Samuel 11-12. David writes about this painful moment in Psalm 32 and Psalm 51. Idleness led David to not show up for work, going to war with Israel’s army, had an affair and once Bathsheba got pregnant, he tried to cover this up by giving her husband leave to sleep with his wife. When Uriah refused to go into his house, David panicked and sent Uriah out to die in battle.

He will not allow your foot to slip or to be moved; He Who keeps you will not slumber, Psalm 121:3.

While this fall from grace is epic, David learned to see God as the One who keep you from stumbling. Perhaps, David understood what the apostle Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 10:13, learning to search for the way out of temptation following his rebuke by the prophet Nathan. Then again, it’s possible David is literally focusing on God’s ability to keep his feet from twisting an ankle. Whatever the interpretation, both can apply as Christians learn to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

The Cure for a Troubled Mind

A troubled mind is like being a parent at a little league game. One error leads to another as a ground ball in the infield ends up becoming an inside the park homeroom. Great for the hitter who never stops running and gut-wrenching for the fielding team. As a former coach, I once watched my catcher not know the rule for a dropped third strike with the bases loaded. Electing to throw the ball to first rather than step on home plate, he airmailed first by 10 feet. As my right fielder loafed to the ball, all 4 runners scored.

Remember [earnestly] also your Creator [that you are not your own, but His property now] in the days of your youth, before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], I have no enjoyment in them—Ecclesiastes 12:1.

King Solomon suggests that troubled minds are a byproduct of forgetting God. I find this to be true in my own life when a go a few days without reading the Bible or praying. Rather than keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, I begin to feed my earthly desires, Romans 8:5-8. The apostle Paul goes on to explain in chapter 8 that a carnal mind can’t not please God. This points to the spiritual frustration within Cain in Genesis 4:5-8. Cain’s troubled mind made him to act out rather than submit to fruits of the Spirit.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with the great majority of them, for they were overthrown and strewn down along [the ground] in the wilderness. Now these things are examples (warnings and admonitions) for us not to desire or crave or covet or lust after evil and carnal things as they did, 1 Corinthians 10:5-6.

The apostle Paul uses history as a way to prevent yourself from making the same mistakes over and over again in life. Providing a brief summary of Israel’s past failures, Paul claims that these serve as warnings to not crave, covet or indulge your sinful nature. Denzel Washington uses a nearby field in Gettysburg in the film Remember the Titans to communicate to his players, “if we don’t learn from this battle, we too will be destroyed.” Thus, the cure for a troubled mind is seeking daily reminders from the Bible on how to live.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 222: Pursue

From time to time, artists will join together to do a project together or unite for one song. Such is the case with Tayler Doiron and Daniel Garcia. These two artists are part of Vantage Worship, singing Pursue as a duet. The lyrics of Pursue point to Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40. The greatest two commandments is to pursue the love of God and focus on loving your neighbor as yourself.

Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart, 2 Timothy 2:22.

Yet, before you can pursue God, Christian’s must learn to overcome temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13. As believers mature by finding the way out of temptation, seeking God first by pursuing righteousness is possible. As you listen to Pursue, may you be inspired to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. May today’s song get you in the mood to worship the Lord on Sunday.

by Jay Mankus

A Habitual Faith

As a child, exceling as a student did not come naturally to me. Playing sports did, but only baseball was easy and natural. If I wanted to get better, habitually practicing was my goal. I spent most of my free time playing ball outside, hitting tennis balls against the side of our house and playing the course golf course that I created in my backyard. Unfortunately, I wasn’t gifted with great size or strength, so I learned to be gritty, willing myself to get better and enhance my skills daily.

But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light, as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses (removes) us from all sin and guilt [keeps us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations]. If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts], 1 John 1:7-8.

When I became a Christian at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event in the middle of my sophomore year of high school, I began to apply these same principles to my faith. I started a Bible Study at my house, even though I didn’t know what I was doing. My drive to become a better Christian led me to join a weekly accountability group, attend a Methodist youth group religiously every Sunday night and pursue opportunities for monthly retreats. By my senior year, I was appointed the Program Director for my FCA huddle meetings at Concord High School.

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action], 1 John 1:9.

Yet, this is not what a habitual faith resembles. During a Christian retreat in college, pastor Tommy Nelson introduced me to “Spit Baths.” Pastor Nelson was referring to Christians who schedule time with God daily, but their Bible Study and prayer times are short and meaningless. This message has stuck with me over the years, urging me to dig deeper into God’s Word and pour out my heart to God in prayer. Genuine habitual faith occurs when believers naturally keep in step with the Holy Spirit, daily sharing with others what God is teaching you about the Bible and how it applies to life. May this blog inspire you to pursue a habitual faith.

by Jay Mankus

What to Do Next When Your Nest is Empty?

The term empty nest began in the middle of the 1900’s. When parents aren’t able to move on after their children start college or move out on their own, doctors refer to this condition as the “empty nest syndrome.” When children are born, parents make a series of sacrifices to raise their offspring to the best of their abilities. However, once a home is vacant, it’s hard to transition to your next phase in life.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to Me; seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children, Hosea 4:6.

One Old Testament prophet blames a lack of vision for an individual who begins to self-destruct. One of the reasons Jesus left his followers with a great commission in Acts 1:8-9 was to provide a sense of direction in life. Rather than guess or speculate, the Great Commission continues to be fulfilled today through missionaries sent to the ends of the earth.

Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. 13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward, Philippians 3:12-14.

As for empty nesters, my home is quiet for the first time in 24 years. With my two youngest children now off at college, I need to spend time in prayer to figure out what God wants me and my wife to do next. Once you complete honey do lists at home, parents with empty nests must learn to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, so that God’s will for your life will be fulfilled.

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

S.A.N.S. Episode 134: Standing on the Edge of Night

Today’s song comes from Element 101, not a compound on the Periodic Table but a Christian band. Element 101 is made up of vocalist Crissie Verhagen, guitarists Chris Mizzone and Danny Papa, bassist Sal Ciaravino, and drummer Nick Acocella. Standing on the Edge of Night by Element 101 is one of those finger snapping tunes that is great for keeping you awake at night.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather, Psalm 1:1.

Standing in the Bible is symbolic for getting behind someone or something. Whether you’re walking, standing or sitting, temptation has a way of convincing you to stand on the edge of night. Rather than join in with sinners, set a spiritual tone daily by seeking God’s counsel daily. If you keep in step with the Holy Spirit, blessings and good fortunes will follow.

by Jay Mankus

Rise Like an Edifice

An edifice is an imposing building. This may be complex, elegant and or large in stature. In the passage below, edifice is like a city on a hill in Matthew 5:14. According to Jude, one of the best ways to rise like an edifice is to pray in the Holy Spirit. If the apostle Paul was correct in his assumption in Galatians 5:25, once you learn to keep in step with the Holy Spirit your faith will rise like an edifice under construction.

 But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [[d]make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit; Jude 1:20.

During a first century conversation with his disciples, Jesus introduces the concept of moving mountains through belief, faith and prayer, Matthew 21:18-22. According to Jesus, belief is the difference between living an ordinary life and rising like an edifice. Perhaps confidence is the key that distinguishes one Christians prayer life above another. The greater your faith, the larger the mountains you’ll move.

Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal, Jude 1:21.

Beside developing and strengthening your prayer life, Jude encourages first century Christians to guard and keep your lives in the love of God. Jesus’ earthly brother provides directions to obtain this spiritual state in James 4:7-10. As you draw near to God, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit is possible, Galatians 5:25. If you want to rise like an edifice, listen to the instructions of God’s Word so faith continues to grow.

by Jay Mankus

Walking in Love

Walking on Sunshine is a song written by Kimberley Rew. This original piece was created for Katrina and the Waves in 1983 for their album. The Bible has their own version of walking on sunshine. However, according to one of Jesus’ disciples, walking is symbolic for living in love. Just as a Christian should learn to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, love for live should be a daily motivating force to spread sunshine.

And what this love consists in is this: that we live and walk in accordance with and guided by His commandments (His orders, ordinances, precepts, teaching). This is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you continue to walk in love [guided by it and following it], 2 John 1:6.

When I was a teenager, I wore my feelings on my sleeves. When I was in a good mood, I wanted everyone that I came into contact to celebrate and feel the joy inside of me. However, as depression set in which was 75% of the time, I didn’t want anybody in the same room with me to be happy or smile. I did the opposite of walking in love, trying to drag everyone down to feel my pain.

And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love, 1 Corinthians 13:13.

The apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter of the Bible to love. The final verse of this passage is listed above. According to C.S. Lewis, faith, hope, and love are considered theological virtues. Yet, these spiritual qualities are only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4. Subsequently, if you want to learn to walk in love, Romans 10:9-11, a personal relationship with God is essential. Once this journey begins, walking in love involves keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

The Baptism That Almost Never Happened

To an average person, the mind of God is hard to fathom. Yet even one of Jesus’ disciples; one of three members of his inner circle tried to cancel Jesus’ plan to save the world from sin, Matthew 16:20-23. Three years earlier, the spiritual leader known as John the Baptist attempted to pull off a similar stunt. In the passage below, John tries to talk Jesus out of being baptized by him. John felt unworthy to perform Jesus’ baptism.

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him. 14 But John [f]protested strenuously, having in mind to prevent Him, saying, It is I who have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me? – Matthew 3:13-14

Human beings have a hard time seeing the finger of God moving, touching, and working behind the scenes. Perhaps half the problem is that human nature makes most people focus on the here and now so that God’s greater good is never seen. Transition is one of those unpleasant experiences that seems unnecessary at the time it occurs, but it opens the door for future events to occur in your life. This is something that John and Peter both failed to recognize.

But Jesus replied to him, [g]Permit it just now; for this is the fitting way for [both of] us to fulfill all righteousness [that is, to [h]perform completely whatever is right]. Then he permitted Him. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, He went up at once out of the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he [John] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him, Matthew 3:15-16.

Despite being a discerning prophet, John needed to be persuaded to baptize Jesus. Based upon the discussion in the passage above, John was finally sold on fulfilling all righteousness. Modern day Christians don’t have the luxury of Jesus talking sense into us. Yet we do have an invisible counselor to usher in God’s will for our lives, John 16:13. The next time the Devil, Ephesians 2:2, seeks to block you from doing what God desires, keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:26, so that God’s will prevails.

by Jay Mankus

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