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Tag Archives: Prayer

What I Need this Christmas

You and I wasn’t available on You Tube so I substituted this song with Rain Down.

Every Thanksgiving my family members are expected to provide a list of presents that they want for Christmas. Yet, the more I ponder about what I want, I can’t think of anything that I really need this year. Rather than waste money on presents that I may not use or want, all I need for this Christmas is to spend time with my family. After working my first sixty-hour week leading up to Thanksgiving, family is what makes the holidays special.

 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [g]infuses inner strength into me; I am [h]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency], Philippians 4:13.

This perspective was conceived after listening to the song You and I by Oceans Above. The lyrics of this song start off with a prayer request for a wide range of individuals throughout the world. Similar to the beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7, the lead singer turns their prayer toward “what I need.” Part of the chorus references the words of the apostle Paul in the passage below. What Christians really need is for Jesus to be strong in your weak moments in life.

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength), 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Therefore, don’t make Christmas self- centered by seeking presents. Instead, it’s time for me to be the giver rather than a receiver. One of my favorite Christmas gifts over the years was a letter from someone I met on a Misson’s trip in college. Despite not receiving a letter in return for 3 months, I continued to write to see how they were doing. When I returned home during Christmas break, I got a letter about all the trials she had endured. Sometimes the greatest gift is not giving up on those who have lost hope.

by Jay Mankus

When There’s Not Much to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

This year will be the first Thanksgiving for my wife Leanne without a living parent. Meanwhile, this will be the first Thanksgiving for me without my sister Kathie who is battling blood clots and cancer. While my parents are still living, each have been hindered by a slew of health-related issues in 2022. Subsequently, when there’s not much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, you have to find a siler lining.

Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [[e]and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, 20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father, Ephesians 5:20.

One of the ways the apostle Paul remained thankful in the midst of trials was through music. Rather than click on a car stereo or You-Tube, Paul writes about singing his favorite songs from church. Whether you’re humming a chorus in your head, playing an instrument or raising your voice in song, singing has a way of taking a mental break from any pain you’re currently experiencing. Anyone who dwells upon biblically based lyrics will be elevated toward a more thankful spirit.

Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); 17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 19 Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19.

If this doesn’t work, Paul urges Christians to turn to prayer. This shouldn’t be haphazard. Instead, prayer should become a state of mind, unceasing throughout your day. Paul suggests that praying is a means to will yourself toward a thankful heart. Unfortunately, the root of bitterness has a way of ruining the mood to pray. Once prayer ceases minds turn their attention away from the Lord and race to anxiety, doubt and worry. If you’re struggling this Thanksgiving to be thankful, may the advice in the passages above turn your week around.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 292: Tend

The word tend refers to regularly or frequently behavior in a particular way or have a certain characteristic. Every individual has certain habits and rituals that become part of a daily routine. Unfortunately, no matter how consistent you may be, everyone breaks from these patterns. For a Christian, there are spiritual disciplines that should become part of your daily schedule. While sometimes you may skip Bible Study or prayer, hopefully this trend is few and far between.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you, John 15:5-7.

The lyrics of Emily Rose’ song Tend are based upon Jesus’ words in the passage above. Jesus uses an analogy where God is a gardener and Jesus is the vine, the source of all life on earth. God prunes areas of our lives that are dormant or death. Pruning is designed to stimulate growth. Perhaps, Tend is all about staying connected with Jesus. Any other decision will result in curses in the form of hardship and pain. Enjoy today’s song.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 277: Cast My Cares

One of the first things I did in high school becoming a Christian was to join an accountability group. While it felt good to share to others what was going on in life, I felt like a few individuals tried to dominant each session, forcing the group to spend most of the time on this person’s issues. During college I joined a Chrysalis Reunion Group which was a perfect place to cast your burdens to others.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will [o]ease and relieve and [p]refresh [q]your souls.] 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest ([r]relief and ease and refreshment and [s]recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, [t]good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne, Matthew 11:28-30.

Today’s featured song sings about the passage above. Finding Favour created Cast My Cares for anyone who is being weighed down by heavy burdens in life. Hebrews 12:1-2 compares life to a marathon with a call to throw off anything that is weighing you down. May the lyrics of Cast My Cares encourage Christians to unload any anxieties, burdens and cares at the feet of Jesus in prayer.

by Jay Mankus

The State of Disembodied Existence

Every time I complete studying the entire Old or New Testament, I like to begin a new one with a different version of the Bible. The first church that I served in as a Youth Director was in Rising Sun, Maryland. At the time I worked there, this conservative Methodist Church was using the Amplified Bible. While this version is great for studying, it’s hard to read out loud as it gives all the possible translations of the Bible.

And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades ([c]the state of death or disembodied existence) surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done [according to their motives, aims, and works], Revelation 20:13.

As I read the final chapter of the Bible, I’m using the Classic Edition of the Amplified Version. This might explain why John hints at the state of disembodied existence. It appears that John is referring to eternal life where our spirit and soul will reside, the essence of who you are. My spiritual mental in high school, Coach Ken, explained this to me that others will recognize us in heaven beyond our physical body.

Then death and Hades ([d]the state of death or disembodied existence) were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire, Revelation 20:14.

The apostle Paul uses this concept in a closing prayer for members at the Church at Thessalonica, 1 Thessalonians 5:20-23. While the term soul appears just under 500 times in the Bible, Jesus spoke about loving God with all your heart, soul and mind, Matthew 22:47. While the concept of your state of disembodied existence is interesting, it’s not what’s important. The key is making sure you enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11. This is my prayer for all who read this blog.

by Jay Mankus

What Will You Be?

Americans spent $10.14 billion on Halloween in 2021. A majority of this amount is centered around one question: what will you be for Halloween this year? Die hard Halloweener’s plan a year ahead, trying to outdo their costume from the previous year. For one night every year, kids and adults roleplay the creature, individual or superhero they dress up as. Yet, the Bible speaks of a spiritual costume.

And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory. So kill (deaden, [a]deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God), Colossians 3:2-5.

The apostle Paul writes about the mental preparation involved in being a biblical follower of Jesus. Once Halloween is over, as you leave your home daily, who will you be today? Will you put on your happy face, drag down your co-workers with criticism or lead by example? Just as Galatians 5:16-18 speaks of the internal struggle between the flesh and God’s Spirit, your thought life will dictate who you will be on any given day.

Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony], Colossians 3:12-14.

After writing about putting to death your old self, Paul transitions to putting on Christ like qualities. Unfortunately, maintaining a positive perspective on life when things don’t go your way isn’t easy. What will you be can change in an instant if prayer and daily Bible Study becomes part of your routine. Therefore, if you want to be Jesus the other 364 days of the year, put an end to bad habits of your past and start putting on the love of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

On the Third Day

The phrase ‘three days’ occurs 75 times in the bible. When the number three is used in the Bible, this is symbolic of completeness. However, three can also be used as an emphatic Semitic triplet to describe the intensity of something. The verse below is from an Old Testament prophet who points to Jesus’ death and resurrection on the third day.

Come and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up. After two days He will revive us (quicken us, give us life); on the third day He will raise us up that we may live before Him, Hosea 6:1-2.

Meanwhile, the apostle Paul explains the spiritual impact of Jesus’ resurrection on that first Easter Sunday. Like taunting death, Paul does some spiritual trash talking in the passage below. The sting of physical death was swallowed up by the supernatural resurrection by Jesus. To avoid critics saying Jesus’ wasn’t really dead, three days was plenty of time to guarantee this wasn’t a hoax, Matthew 28:11-15.

And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished [h]forever) in and unto victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? 56 Now sin is the sting of death, and sin exercises its power [i][upon the soul] through [j][the abuse of] the Law. 57 But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57.

The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in his letter to the Church at Colosse. Colossians 3:1-4 explains how the resurrection of Jesus can transform Christians from within. Unfortunate, putting to death the addictions, bad habits and cravings of your past takes more than three days. Rather, this process takes a lifetime, a spiritual marathon where you throw off what’s dragging you down in prayer, Hebrews 12:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 236: Lift Me Up

The film How Starbucks Saved My Life is about a former CEO who used his time working at Starbucks to reprioritize his life. Today’s song comes from the duo Joshua Havens and Matt Fuqua who worked together in a Starbucks coffee shop in Mesquite, Texas. Following positive feedback from customers that they played for, Joshua and Matt formed the Afters.

For such [praying] is good and right, and [it is] pleasing and acceptable to God our Savior, Who wishes all men to be saved and [increasingly] to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the [divine] Truth, 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

Whether you’re a Christian or not, everyone needs a pick me up at some point in their lives. The lyrics of Lift Me Up by the Afters is based upon a couple passages in the Bible like Matthew 11:28-30. Jesus calls all who are burdened, tired and weary to come to God to lay down your burdens. This is accomplished spiritually through prayer as you let go and let God lift you up.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 200: Broken Heart

Today’s song comes from an American Christian rock band that formed in Albany, Oregon. Falling Up signed to BEC Recordings in 2003 after a recommendation from friends in the band Kutless. Followers of Falling Up believe their 2008 singles collection Discover the Trees Again was simultaneously the end of an era and the start of an incredibly exciting new chapter for this band.

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise, Jeremiah 17:14.

Every adult is familiar with broken hearts. Whether this is due to a failed friendship or marriage, all human beings are in need of healing. Subsequently, Falling Up’s lyrics of Broken Heart serve as a cry for help like a prayer where you pour out your heart to God. My today’s song encourage you to never be afraid or ashamed to ask God for healing.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 192: In Jesus Name (God of Possible)

Before I start today’s blog, I want to wish Katy Nicole a happy 22nd birthday. During a recent search for young and talented Christian musicians, Katy’s name popped up first. After looking up her bio, the internet revealed that today is her birthday, July 29th. While Katy’s Central Illinois upbringing points to humble beginnings, the lyrics of In Jesus Name suggests a Christian who walks what she sings about.

And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:38.

First century apostle used the expression “in Jesus name” during prayers and as part of the baptism of new believers. Meanwhile, the lyrics of Katy’s song point to the God of possibilities. Perhaps quoting Luke 1:37 and Matthew 19:26, Katy mixes faith with pray to move any mountain standing in your way. May In Jesus Name inspire you to have faith and not doubt while you pray.

by Jay Mankus

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