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Tag Archives: soul

Keeping Your Soul Well

To an ordinary person, the soul is an immaterial part of a human being. Yet, once an individual becomes spiritually enlightened, souls become the essence of who you are, and the person God wants you to be. At the beginning of a first century letter, John prays for the prosperity of bodies and the wellness of souls. Building upon the words of Proverbs 4:23, John is concerned with protecting the wellspring of life.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers, 3 John 1:2.

The prosperity movement in the church has left countless souls feeling disappointed and empty. The idea that if you give x amount of money to this cause, you will receive a bounty full of blessings is not accurate. This concept taken from Malachi 3:8-10 is based upon tithing. When Christians reach a point in their faith of complete trust in God to provide, there is a promise to open the storehouses of heaven. To avoid a long-drawn-out biblical debate, these blessings come in many shapes and forms.

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might, Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

Jesus quotes Moses words in the passage above in Matthew 22:37-40. One way to keep your soul well is by making God your top priority in life, Matthew 6:33-34. As Christians mature and reach an understanding of God’s daily bread from Israel’s days of wandering in the wilderness, human effort is taken out of this equation. Somehow and someway as Christians seek God’s righteousness first, mysterious and unexplainable things begin to happen. Some may never reach this degree of faith, but if you do, you’ll be eager to protect and guard your heart so that your soul remains well.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 112: I Can’t Quit

Today’s featured song comes from a group that I discovered on You Tube. While listening to a mix of Christian dance songs from various artists, Capital Kings kicked off this collection. I debated between “the Paradigm” and “I Can’t Quit.” While both songs have an exceptional beat and sound, I Can’t Quit contains more inspirational lyrics that most people can relate to in a world filled with defeat.

For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint, Galatians 6:8-9.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul addresses this topic. Human nature has a way of weakening downtrodden souls to lose heart. When you heart isn’t into what you are doing, minds tune out which results in the act of quitting. Whatever circumstance or situation that you are currently facing, remember the Capital Kings song I Can’t Quit so that faith prevails as you learn to press on day after day.

by Jay Mankus

Fill Up and Complete Your Joy

When a religious person opens the Bible, eyes tend to focus on God’s commands as a giant to do list. This expectation can become overwhelming. Yet, the apostle Paul places the emphasis on improving your spiritual life. When you become wore down by the worries in life, you’re unable to help others as God intended. This is why Paul speaks of filling up and completing your joy to live an abundant life.

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up, A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, Ecclesiastes 3:3-4.

When I went to fill up my car this week, the price of gas jumped by over 25 cents. This sticker shock placed an unnecessary burden upon my soul. While King Solomon wrote about the swing in emotions that every day brings, too much of one thing is not good. If you set out to fill up and complete your joy as Jesus describes in John 10:10, developing balance in your life is a crucial step to take,

Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others, Philippians 2:2-4.

As someone who has a history of burning myself out from a lack of balance, if you don’t take care of yourself you won’t be able to help others as God intended. While Jesus devoted his life to serving others, He needed a small support group in the form of 12 disciples to fill up and complete God’s joy. If you don’t currently have a body of believers to share your life with, this void will keep you from filling up with joy. May 2022 be the year where you reach your full potential as you seek the joy promised in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 97: I Give Myself Away

I stumbled upon today’s featured song while searching for inspiration worship songs for a fast back in January. Prior to this search, I had never heard of William McDowell. William’s voice and spirit poured out in I Give Away myself reminds me some of Babbie Mason’s songs. McDowell does a wonderful job of combining music with a prayer in I Give Myself Away.

So by whatever [appeal to you there is in our mutual dwelling in Christ, by whatever] strengthening and consoling and encouraging [our relationship] in Him [affords], by whatever persuasive [a]incentive there is in love, by whatever participation in the [Holy] Spirit [we share], and by whatever depth of affection and compassionate sympathy, Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention, Philippians 2:1-2.

The lyrics of I Give Myself Away blends scripture into this song. The apostle Paul writes in the passage above about developing the same attitude and mindset of Christ. Just as Jesus laid down his life for his friends, Romans 5:8, God calls Christians today to give our lives away by making Jesus the Lord of our life. May this song touch your heart and stir your soul as it has done for me and my friends.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 44: City on a Hill

When I first started teaching at Red Lion, Casting Crowns became extremely popular at this Christian Academy with hits like Who Am I? This popular style of music inspired a couple of student leaders to start a drama team that ministered to teenagers. Unfortunately, two of my former Bible students Kaylyn Warren and Joseph Feeley lost their lives to cancer. Yet, each of them fought their battle like a spiritual warrior, shining the light of Christ like a city on a hill in the darkness of this deadly disease.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your [z]moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and [aa]recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven, Matthew 5:14-16.

While I’ve never been to a Casting Crowns concert, I’ve purchased several of their albums. Today’s song is from the Come to the Well album. As a writer, City on a Hill immediately touched my soul the first time I heard this song. The stanza with “Each one thought that they knew better; But they were different by design; Instead of standing strong together they let their differences divide” spoke to my heart. When you reach the chorus, you realize that every Christian has a role to play. When the body of Christ puts their differences aside, congregations become a city on a hill like Jesus designed in the passage above.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 35: Cup

Serene Campbell and Pearl Barrett are musical sisters from New Zealand and California. This duo was formerly known as Serene & Pearl. However, by the mid 1990’s, these women changed their name to Considering Lily. At this same time, I was looking for a different sound, something fresh and new. When you add wholesome lyrics to a distinct sound, I became a big fan of Considering Lily in the late nineties.

Blessed and fortunate and happy and[g]spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God [h]enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be [i]completely satisfied! – Matthew 5:6

Today’s song was inspired by the passage above along with several songs of the past about filling our spiritual cup with living water, John 4:13-15. Like the Samaritan woman in the middle of a desert on a hot summer day, thirst is a natural craving of the human flesh. Yet, when Christians turn their thirst toward righteousness, God has the ability to satisfy your soul. May today’s song touch your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Purify Your Heart with Sincere Affection

Sometimes the truth that a friend shares strikes a nerve. Such is the case of one Old Testament prophet who reveals a painful truth in Jeremiah 17:9. When your heart becomes open to the possibility that you’re not as nice as you should be, your soul becomes open to changing for the better. This is the message that Peter has for a teachable spirit: purify your heart with sincere affection.

Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [HolySpirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart, 1 Peter 1:22.

Purification usually involves some sort of filtration process. Whether this is accomplished through cleansing, decontaminating or sterilizing the imperfections, purifying anything takes time. According to one of Jesus’ disciples, purifying your heart is based upon your degree of obedience to God’s commands. As the Holy Spirit convicts Christians for any wrongdoing, your heart begins the purification process.

So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins], James 4:7-9.

Yet, to achieve sincere affection, Christians must seek the Theological Virtues of hope, faith, and love. According to C.S. Lewis, Cardinal Virtues are available to anyone, but Theological Virtues are only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 13:13. Actions and faith must work hand and hand so that hearts will be purified as the fruits of this process develop into sincere affection.

by Jay Mankus

The Law of Liberty

When I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, the fear of God was quickly ingrained within me. Subsequently, this mindset caused me to refer to the Bible as a long list of Do’s and Don’ts. Religiously following God’s commandments, decrees and precepts gradually wore me out. Yet, once I entered into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-11, I began to see the Bible as a means toward liberation.

But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience), James 1:25.

Jesus’ earthly brother refers to the Torah as the law of liberty in the first two chapters of his letter to first century Christians. I wouldn’t be surprised if this concept was shared with him by Jesus. Rather than treat the Bible as a rigorous list of spiritual chores to carry out daily, James began to become liberated. Based upon the passage above, James sounds like Moses during his farewell address in Deuteronomy 30:15-16.

But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing]. Once I was alive, but quite apart from and unconscious of the Law. But when the commandment came, sin lived again and I died (was sentenced by the Law to death). 10 And the very legal ordinance which was designed and intended to bring life actually proved [to mean to me] death, Romans 7:8-10.

The apostle Paul devotes an entire chapter in the Book of Romans to reveal how God’s law eventually liberated his troubled soul. Paul doesn’t hold back, pouring out his heart in frustration about his bleak spiritual condition. No matter how hard Paul tried to keep God’s Commandments, he failed miserably time after time, Romans 7:19-20. Despite Paul’s fallen nature, the final portion of Romans 7:21-25 illustrates how sinners can be liberated by the law of liberty through Christ, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

The Introduction of a Better Hope

In this age of COVID-19, rising gas prices and shortages of essential supplies, hope isn’t a word that comes to my mind. Instead anxieties, concerns, and doubt take center stage of daily conversations. While venting your frustrations is good for your soul, too much complaining can lead to a toxic environment. If there was ever a time when human beings needed the introduction of a better hope, today is that day.

For the Law never made anything perfect—but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God. 20 And it was not without the taking of an oath [that Christ was made Priest], Hebrews 7:19-20.

The author of Hebrews provides this positive message. The Old Testament law was designed to define the boundary lines for every day living. Yet, following biblical rules doesn’t make you perfect. Rather, these guidelines are intended to keep danger and evil out as you draw closer to God. The passage above suggests that as you read and study the Bible, you will eventually find Jesus. Entering into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-10, is the introduction of a better hope.

Therefore, since we are justified ([a]acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to [b]enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God, Romans 5:1-2.

The apostle Paul shares the spiritual benefits of this new hope. As human beings make peace with God by verbally confessing their errors, mistakes, and sins, you gain access to God’s grace by faith. Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples reveals how the Holy Spirit gives you everything you need for life, 2 Peter 1:3-4. Yet, until you enter into a life long relationship with God, this isn’t available. Therefore, if this blog finds you in a state of despair, come to Jesus, the eternal source of a better hope.

by Jay Mankus

How Can You Love Your Neighbor When You Hate The Person You’ve Become?

Clive Staples Lewis was an atheist and British writer before becoming a lay theologian. C.S. Lewis once contemplated the concept of loving your neighbor. The following quote reveals his thoughts. You are told to love your neighbor as yourself. How do you love yourself? When I look into my own mind, I find that I do not love myself by thinking myself a dear old chap or having affectionate feelings.” This same dilemma exists today as how can you love your neighbor when many people don’t like the person they’ve become.

Teacher, which [e]kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?] 37 And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect), Matthew 22:36-37.

Following a series of parables, Jesus is asked by a religious leader a spiritual question. “What’s the most important commandment?” Instead of de-emphasizing the other 9 from the most essential, Jesus divides the commandments into two parts. The first 4 commandments are based upon loving God with the final 6 focused on loving your neighbor. When Christians began to love God with all their hearts, soul and mind, the practice of religion turns into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 40 These two commandments [f]sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets, Matthew 22:38-40.

When hearts grow cold, love stops naturally flowing out of human beings. If faith is not revived or resuscitated, this lack of love can slowly turn into self hatred for oneself. When sources for love dry up, there is no positivity that bubbles over on to the people you interact with daily. The longer this subtle decay continues, there is no inspiration to love friends and family. The key to loving your neighbor is to tap into the love of God, John 3:16-17. As individuals begin to feel and sense God’s love, desires to pass this on to others is restored. Unfortunately, healing take time. Just hang in there long enough for restoration to ignite your heart with the love of God.

by Jay Mankus

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