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Rules for Living a Radical Spiritual Life

1. An Unswerving Belief that Jesus is the Son of God.

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the ([a]His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power). 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.] 12 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father, John 14:10-12.

Whenever Christians give the devil a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-28, spiritual faith can be stolen as revealed in the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:19-23. Jesus explains that belief is preserved by planting yourself in the right environment. Psalm 1:1-3 compares this to water that gives life or as the apostle Paul states in Romans 10:17, faith comes from hearing, reflecting upon and studying the Word of God, the Bible.

2. Seizing the Moment to Provide for the Needy with the Expectation God Will Provide.

Now the day began to decline, and the Twelve came and said to Him, Dismiss the crowds and send them away, so that they may go to the neighboring hamlets and villages and the surrounding country and find lodging and get a [b]supply of provisions, for we are here in an uninhabited (barren, solitary) place. 13 But He said to them, You [yourselves] give them [food] to eat. They said, We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all this crowd, 14 For there were about 5,000 men. And [Jesus] said to His disciples, Have them [sit down] reclining in table groups (companies) of about fifty each. 15 And they did so, and made them all recline. 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven and [praising God] gave thanks and asked Him to bless them [to their use]. Then He broke them and gave them to the disciples to place before the multitude. 17 And all the people ate and were satisfied. And they gathered up what remained over—twelve [[c]small hand] baskets of broken pieces, Luke 9:12-17.

Time is one of the biggest obstacles to living a radical spiritual life. Time is used like a crutch, a common excuse to fall back on when you don’t feel like doing something spiritually. Jesus’ disciples fell into this trap in the passage above, but Jesus was there to direct them in the direction of the Holy Spirit. Willing servants seize each moment that the Lord provides with the expectation God will provide everything that you need, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

3.Following the Example and Model for Overcoming Temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. 16 Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it], Hebrews 4:14-16.

The author of Hebrews reveals that Christians have someone who can sympathize with our weaknesses. If you study the Passion Week beginning in John 12, Jesus leans on His heavenly father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark 1:35-36 provides Jesus’ spiritual routine to start every day. Whenever Christians begin to follow the example and model set by Jesus to look for the way out of temptation, they are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

4.Follow the Way of Righteousness, Matthew 6:33.

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy; Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel, Psalm 103:7.

The beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount points to proper attitudes and motives that radical spiritual leaders adopt. The beatitudes set the tone for this famous speech which is reinforced in Matthew 6:33. As belief is solidified, and minds are convinced that God will provide, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit ushers in a radical spiritual life. The final step is merely your complete focus on hungering and thirsting for righteousness by discovering God’s will for your life, Romans 12:1-2.

by Jay Mankus


What Can God Give You?

Giving is one those traits which either comes naturally or has to be acquired. As the son of an immigrant, I was taught to be frugal and thrifty. My grandmother on my dad’s side of the family always kept the plastic on the outside of couches and mattresses so that these items would last as long as possible. While I grew up with a couple of rich neighbors who got whatever they wanted, I had to work at giving. Over time, God tested me, providing opportunities for me to give which I passed and failed.

And Abram said, Lord God, what can You give me, since I am going on [from this world] childless and he who shall be the owner and heir of my house is this [steward] Eliezer of Damascus? – Genesis 15:2.

The context of the passage above occurs as Abram begins to doubt that he will become the father of a great nation. From a logical perspective, Abram’s wife Sarai was unable to have children and their biological clock for having children at their old age was becoming less likely. This dire situation prompted Abram to ask, “what can you give me God?” If I was placed in this situation, I’d probably ask God a similar question.

And He said to him, I am the [same] Lord, Who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldees to give you this land as an inheritance. But he [Abram] said, Lord God, by what shall I know that I shall inherit it? – Genesis 15:7-8

Up until this point in their relationship, God blessed Abram with possessions and great wealth, but no children. Based upon Sarai’s irrational decision in Genesis 16, this issue was driving a wedge into their marriage. While human beings struggle to see beyond today, God is a supernatural being who is often multiple steps ahead of us. Therefore, the next time you doubt’s ability to provide, Matthew 6:33, recall the vast miracles in the Bible to calm anxiety, any concerns, or worry about your own future.

by Jay Mankus

Descendants of a Living God

The lyrics to Casting Crowns song City on a Hill does an excellent job of portraying how easy it is for a community of believers to disagree. Due to built-in stereotypes that are ingrained within our minds, trying to convince someone from a different background is extremely difficult. This is the dilemma in City on a Hill as differences divided one another based upon preconceived notions that made each group think they knew better than the others. The apostle Paul tried to unite the Church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 12:1-12, highlighting that each member plays a specific part of the church.

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had left him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 For all the land which you see I will give to you and to your posterity forever, Genesis 13:14-15.

Before Israel ever existed, one man questioned God’s ability to form a new nation with an aging man and a wife who was unable to have children. Although self-help gurus may give a convincing argument today, there is only one living God that exists. However, if Sarai was able to have children right away and Abram was younger, perhaps they would have taken some of the credit for their future family. Yet, like many situations in the past and present, the weaker human beings become, this opens the door for God to perform miracles beyond your imagination.

And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if a man could count the dust of the earth, then could your descendants also be counted, Genesis 13:16.

At this early stage in the Bible, Abram and Sarai are still childless. Descendants of a living God seemed unlikely due to the age of this couple. Nonetheless, the longer Abram and Sarai wait, desperation results in the birth of Ishmael via the maidservant Hagar. This is another example of when a believer doesn’t fully trust God, Proverbs 3:5-6, trying to force the issue rather than let faith takeover. As you read the book of Genesis, you find out how descendants of a living God come to fruition. However, today another story is being written about future descendants. May you possess that faith and patience to let God figure out the details for your own life.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 355: God Who Moves the Mountains

When prayer and faith are aligned, miracles can happen to you, your family and to anyone you are praying for. Unfortunately, when doubt creeps into your mind, your prayers often become cries for help that go unanswered. Despite witnessing countless miracles performed by Jesus, his disciples regularly failed to move the mountains that were standing in their way. This is the topic that inspired Corey Voss’ song God Who Moves Mountains.

When the disciples saw it, they marveled greatly and asked, How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once? 21 And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a [n]firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive, Matthew 21:20-22.

As my sister Kathie battles ovarian cancer, I’m trying to remove all doubt from my mind. As I cask God to regenerate red and white blood cells within Kathie’s body to suffocate and kill all cancer cells, I’m praying for a miracle. I’m claiming Jesus’ promise in the passage above to move the mountain of cancer, to do the impossible from a scientific standpoint. Join me in the quest to move the mountains standing in your own way in 2023 so that miracles flow via the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

The First Medical Miracle

Daniel Hale Williams performed the first documented successful pericardium surgery in 1893. Over the past 129 years, countless miracles have occurred with many procedures now considered routine outpatient surgeries. One thing that you may not know about my family is that my Uncle Tony is the longest living recipient of an open-heart transplant in the Unted States. Still alive today, Tony Mankus is a living example of a medical miracle.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. 22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man, Genesis 2:21-23.

Moses writes about the first medical miracle ever recorded in the Bible. Rather than place Adam under general anesthesia like a common procedure in American hospitals, God wanted until Adam was sound asleep. Likely following a full day of work in the Garden of Eden as a ground’s keeper and farmer. As Adam was unconscious, God operates as a surgeon who removes a rib and part of his side to form the first medical miracle, in the Bible forming the first woman on earth.

And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? 35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. 36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment, Luke 1:34-37.

Thousands of years later, Mary had her own doubts about an encounter with an angel. Scientifically, to conceive a child without having sex is impossible unless it’s done via a test-tube with donated sperm. Yet, the angel reassured Mary that this would be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. After dealing with the fact that God could have chosen anyone, Mary came to realize that anything is possible with God, especially, medical miracles.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 242: Take Courage

Courage is one of those traits that is often hidden until a crisis, event or circumstance forces individuals to act. If you’re caught off guard, you may freeze like a deer stunned by the headlights of a moving vehicle. If you do flunk a test of faith, it’s not the end of the world. This is where King David calls believers in the Lord to take courage internally so that you can recover spiritually.

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord, Psalm 27:14.

Kristene DiMarco offers up a similar call in her song Take Courage. The apostle Paul warns Christians to arm yourself with spiritual weapons to take your stand against the Devil, Ephesians 6:10-20. The lyrics of Take Courage point to what is possible when Christians begin to fix their eyes on Jesus. Whatever you may be currently facing, miracles happen when you fix your eyes on Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 226: Glimmer of Hope

I’m usually not a fan of thrash metal, but Glimmer of Hope by Ordained Fate brings up a topic that people even today have the guts to address. This mainly female band from Zion, IL use a series of sound bites from horror and western movies to ask the question, “who is to blame for all the violence in the world?” Is is television, social media or video games which make billions annually selling violence?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, Romans 15:13.

The Glimmer of Hope lyrics by Ordained Fate’s song is in a God who has a history of performing miracles. Parting the Red Sea to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of Egypt. Jesus rising from the dead three days after being crucified on a cross. While the media tries to hide it, miracles continue today without much fanfare. Noththeless, Jesus provides hope for those who lean on the Lord, Philippians 4:13.

by Jay Mankus

From Time to Time

Starting a few years ago, I decided to use a different translation of the Bible each time I study the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. My most recent study involves the Classic Amplified Bible. This version opened my eyes to the words of one of Jesus’ former disciples. John took great joy whenever a Christian visited with the goal of sharing their faith. Unfortunately, this only occurred from time to time.

In fact, I greatly rejoiced when [some of] the brethren from time to time arrived and spoke [so highly] of the sincerity and fidelity of your life, as indeed you do live in the Truth [the whole Gospel presents], 3 John 1:3.

When something in your life isn’t important or a priority, you only experience this from time to time. From John’s perspective, he watched Jesus present the Gospel every day for three years. Jesus didn’t wait to share God’s love until the disciples reached their appointed destination for the night. Rather, Jesus seized every moment, walking, talking and loving along the way, stopping to perform miracles daily.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my [spiritual] children are living their lives in the Truth. Beloved, it is a fine and faithful work that you are doing when you give any service to the [Christian] brethren, and [especially when they are] strangers, 3 John 1:4-5.

John explains in the passage above why Christians should live out God’s Word daily by sharing their faith. When God uses you to comfort or encourage someone in the form of a divine appointment, the joy you experience from this encounter is amazing. Perhaps, this is the what the abundant joy that Jesus promised in John 10:10 feels like. Rather than casually share your faith from time to time, search for daily opportunities to pass on God’s love.

by Jay Mankus

The Father of All Light

Exodus 8 reveals an important lesson about light and life. When King Pharaoh could not explain some of the miracles performed by Aaron and Moses, he sent for magicians who were actually able to duplicate the first two. Moses claimed that enchantments and secret arts allowed these magicians to turn water into blood and call forth frogs from the waters to fill the land. Yet, when these magicians were unable to bring forth gnats or mosquitoes, these men came to the conclusion that this was the finger of God, Exodus 8:18-19.

For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah). 14 And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; 15 So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

According to the apostle Paul, Satan possessed similar powers in the first century. Apparently, Lucifer was able to retain some of his archangel abilities as Paul describes him as the ruler of the air, Ephesus 2:2. Just like the Egyptian magicians thousands of years ago, some modern leaders continue to masquerade as spurious counterfeits of faith today. Yet, at some point in time these individuals will be exposed as their hidden agendas and motives will be uncovered by the Father of all Light. Nonetheless, free will provides the power hungry with an excuse to see how much they can get away with in the darkness.

Every good gift and every perfect ([d]free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse], James 1:17.

When you grow up with a big brother who is perfect, you start to follow him around to find out the secret of his success. Apparently, James likely spied on Jesus while He was praying with His heavenly Father. While he may not have gotten as close as he wanted to hear every word spoken, James came to the conclusion that the Father of Light is what made Jesus who He was. Sharing eyewitness testimony, James wants every first century Christian to know that it is the God of heaven who is the giver of all good things. There is no doubt about it so don’t be deceived by luck, chance or coincidences.

by Jay Mankus

The Gap Between Reality and Faith

As a young Christian, I had a bad habit of treating prayer like a child sitting on Santa’s lap before Christmas. Looking back, I did receive a good portion of the gifts that I requested. However, when it came to waiting for prayers to be answered, that was another story. I guess I viewed God like Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, wanting everyone to win the lottery. This is just one example of the gap between reality and faith.

And as He saw [k]one single leafy fig tree [l]above the roadside, He went to it but He found nothing but leaves on it [[m]seeing that in the fig tree the fruit appears at the same time as the leaves]. And He said to it, Never again shall fruit grow on you! And the fig tree withered up at once. 20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled greatly and asked, How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once? 21 And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a [n]firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive, Matthew 21:19-22.

One walk with his disciples illustrates this point in the passage above. Jesus was hungry after a long day of helping broken, poor and troubled souls. Expecting a fig to satisfy his stomach, Jesus reacts when this tree isn’t doing what it was created to do, bear fruit. After placing a curse on this tree, it immediately withers in plain view of the disciples. Curious by this one act, the disciples want to know how and why Jesus did this. Jesus uses this opportunity to highlight the relationship between belief and faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out], Hebrews 11:6.

Apparently, doubt and unbelief are a major force in the gap between reality and faith. When you go before the Lord in prayer, belief and faith are essential for miracles to happen. If a barrier, mountain or obstacle is standing in your way, do you see the power of God or have you lost hope of ever becoming the person God wants you to be? The author of Hebrews is blunt in the passage above as it’s impossible to please and satisfy God without faith. Subsequently, only when Christians begin to fulfill the will that God has for them will the gap between reality and faith gradually merge into one.

by Jay Mankus

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