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Tag Archives: Spiritual Gifts

Diakrisis

Pneumatikós is an adjective which is derived from pneúma, the Greek word for spirit. Pneumatikós refers to the spiritual realm,  the invisible sphere in which the Holy Spirit imparts faith. In the passage below, the apostle Paul choses the Greek word πίστις. As individuals begin to listen to and read the Bible, hearts, minds and souls are persuaded by conviction to believe in the risen son of God, Jesus.

But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? 17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself), Romans 10:16-17.

As individuals enter into a personal relationship with God, Romans 10:9-10, a variety of spiritual gifts are imparted. One of these gifts is Diakrisis, the spiritual gift of discernment. Whenever anyone begins to hear voices, logic questions if you are crazy or not? However, as I sought counsel from other spiritual leaders, I wasn’t sure what to do or how to proceed. Several years later, I attended a 2 day conference on discernment. During one workshop, I realized that writing was one of the best ways to utilize Diakrisis.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully. 16 [And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives], 1 Peter 3:15-16.

A few days after attending this event, I spoke with a woman from my Bible Study. After picking her brain about her own blog, Express Yourself 4Him was conceived. Like anything in life, the initial years was a learning experience, trying to figure out the content, format and overall objective. Using what I learned as a high school Bible teacher, Diakrisis led me to turn my posts into a daily devotional. Although some topics that I chose may not relate to you, I feel called to share my faith through writing about what God is teaching me daily. This is Diakrisis in action.

by Jay Mankus

The Pursuit of Love

The popular board game Trivial Pursuit was created on December 15 1979, by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott. The concept for this game was conceived while Abbott and Haney were playing Scrabble one night. Perhaps, the beer these Canadian newspaper editors were drinking allowed their minds to consider the possibilities. For the past forty years, this game has inspired competitive individuals toward a pursuit of knowledge.

But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love], 1 Corinthians 12:31.

In the middle of the first century, the apostle Paul wrote about another pursuit. Framed between “the love chapter in the Bible,” Paul encourages Christians to pursue love in the context of spiritual gifts. Instead of creating a divide within the body of Christ by claiming, “my gift is better than yours,” Paul reminds believers to make love your inspiration. When love becomes your motivation to act, God gets the glory, not you.

Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy (interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching), 1 Corinthians 14:1.

Based upon the passage above, love is a mindset that you should seek to acquire and pursue. This pursuit is so important to Paul that it has become his aim. earnest desire, and great quest to obtain love. Genuine love is selfless, seeing how your own spiritual gift can be used to fulfill God’s will. This pursuit doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, as Christians ascertain, discover and cultivate spiritual gifts, the pursuit of love is possible with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

Cultivating Spiritual Gifts

A spiritual gift is a God-given capability that becomes available to individuals who enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-10. This hidden skill is available to Christians upon receipt of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-25.  The purpose of God’s spiritual counselor is for carrying out a believers specific function in the body of Christ, which is the Church, John 16:13. Thus, cultivating this inherited talent through a development process is crucial to maximizing this spiritual ability.

But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love], 1 Corinthians 12:31.

According to the apostle Paul, this begins with an earnest desire to draw closer to God. As this relationship strengthens, a zeal is conceived to ascertain, determine, and uncover God’s will for your life, Romans 12:1-2. As your spiritual gift is unveiled over time, God doesn’t want an average or mediocre attempt. Rather, the Lord is looking for your very best effort to unleash best and greatest spiritual gifts on earth. However, cultivating these talents doesn’t stop here.

I am calling up memories of your sincere and unqualified faith (the) leaning of your entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), [a faith] that first lived permanently in [the heart of] your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am [fully] persuaded, [dwells] in you also. That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination], 2 Timothy 1:5-6.

In a letter to a teenage pastor, Paul writes about the leaning of your entire personality on God. Instead of holding back certain aspects or parts of your life, make Jesus the Lord of your life by surrendering everything. Since this is a continuous and daily process, spiritual gifts should not remain idle. Rather, fan into flame your God given gift to help your local church and community. King Solomon urges God’s people to rely on like minded people to cultivate and sharpen your gifts, Proverbs 27:17.

by Jay Mankus

The Inspiration and Energizer

 Since it’s commercial debut on October 30, 1988, a pink bunny has been the face and symbol for Energizer batteries. Over the past 30 years, the Energizer Bunny’s slogan “It just keeps going and going and going” has gotten old. Nonetheless,  over 120 commercials later, this advertising campaign has been successful. Outside of the realm of batteries, human beings are daily searching for a source of inspiration to recharge their physical bodies.

And there are distinctive varieties of operation [of working to accomplish things], but it is the same God Who inspires and energizes them all in all, 1 Corinthians 12:6.

In a letter to the Church at Corinth, the apostle Paul suggests that God inspires and energizes special endowments placed within each human being. The Holy Spirit serves as the operator of souls, encouraging, motivating, and prompting Christians to take action daily. However, until your spiritual gift is revealed, many go through life unaware of these hidden talents. Without being enlightened by God, finding energy and inspiration just to make it through a day can be challenging.

But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit. To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; 1 Corinthians 12:7-8.

Spiritual gifts are like finishing up the last pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Clarifying, distinguishing, and exploring these talents provide a sense of direction. Whenever a Christian receives confirmation that they possess a specific spiritual gift, confidence is gained to apply this, 2 Timothy 1:6. As you begin to fulfill your true nature, souls are energized and inspired. However, if you don’t know what your special endowment is, you’ll feel lethargic. Therefore, take the time now to discover your spiritual gift so that you’ll be energized and inspired once this gift is revealed.

by Jay Mankus

When Love is a Measuring Stick

The English word “canon” comes from the Greek κανών, meaning “rule” or “measuring stick”.  While Christians were the first to refer to the Bible as the measuring stick for life, Eugene Ulrich regards this notion as Jewish. A typical measuring stick is a measuring instrument with a sequence of marks at regular intervals; used as a reference in making measurements. As an introduction to his chapter on love, the apostle Paul is eager to introduce Corinthian Christians to the most excellent way.

But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love], 1 Corinthians 12:31.

This transition uses spiritual gifts mentioned in chapter 12 as an illustration in verses 1-3. Although only a few gifts are selected, the point Paul is trying to make is clear. You can be one of the most blessed, gifted or talented individuals in your state, but if love isn’t the inspiration behind your actions, your spiritual gift is useless. According to Paul, love should be the wind beneath yours spiritual wings which motivates and prompts you act externally, out of the love of Jesus within your heart.

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail, 1 Corinthians 13:4-6.

The major section of this chapter, verses 4-7, defines what love is by comparing it with every day actions and responses. When love is the measuring stick, like a mirror reflecting what’s inside a human soul, wrong behaviors are exposed. In the heat of the moment, how do you respond? Is your life void of love or do emotions open the door for acts of the flesh to take over, Galatians 5:19-21? Paul concludes this chapter with a powerful analogy, verse 11-13. As children, we all throw tantrums. Yet, at some point, you have to grow up spiritually. When you chose love on a daily basis, maturity is obtained.

by Jay Mankus

Special Endowments of Supernatural Energy

Endowments are the establishment of funds via donations for a foundation or institution. This gift serves as a means to finance and subsidize future benefactors such as cancer patients and education for less fortunate children. Conversation talk show host Rush Limbaugh used this concept to coin the phrase “talent on loan from God.” The apostle Paul takes this one step further in the passage below, referring to hidden gifts, personality traits, and talents that you were born with but not yet discovered.

Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed, 1 Corinthians 12:1.

Some of these spiritual gifts defy science with no rationale explanation. Thus, one translation of the Bible points to supernatural energy in the form of a Holy Ghost. These special gifts include healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and working miracles. Between the lines, other unique talents exist, often revealed later on in life. The driving force behind this blog is my ability to write in the Spirit. As long as I keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, concepts, ideas, and thoughts naturally flow out of my heart and mind. As I study the Bible, new revelations are unveiled weekly.

You know that when you were heathen, you were led off after idols that could not speak [habitually] as impulse directed and whenever the occasion might arise. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking under the power and influence of the [Holy] Spirit of God can [ever] say, Jesus be cursed! And no one can [really] say, Jesus is [my] Lord, except by and under the power and influence of the Holy Spirit. Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same., 1 Corinthians 12:2-4.

In a letter to the Church at Rome, Paul lists several spiritual endowments, Romans 12:6-8. If you are curious about your own spiritual gifts, there are church growth resources that include spiritual gift tests. Before taking one of these, your scores will vary depending upon your mood. The confident often score high in several categories whereas the humble tend to evaluate themselves with much lower scores. My spiritual gift was confirmed during a two day church conference on discernment. While interacting with other believers, Pastor Bruce opened my eyes to this unique ability to hear and discern God’s still small voice. While writing a teenager pastor, Paul urges Christians to fan into flame their spiritual gifts immediately, 2 Timothy 1:6.

by Jay Mankus

Divided from the Will of God

The Bible refers to the concept of God having a plan for your life. From Old Testament prophets who write about future plans, Jeremiah 29:11, to the apostle Paul who suggests you can know God’s will, Romans 12:2, callings occur daily. This might be in the form of a convicted conscience, heart felt desire, some sort of dream or inspirational message. Meanwhile, first century Christians believed that each individual was born with a specific gift, personality or talent, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. This spiritual gift is directly linked or tied to God’s will for your life. If God is the Potter, Romans 9:20-21, the will of God is an ongoing process as clay is molded and shaped, Philippians 1:6.

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made {loaves of} bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, Matthew 4:3-4.

Before beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus withdrew into the wilderness to spiritually prepare himself for this 3 year journey. Understanding the threats He would face, Jesus fasted and prayed to clarify God’s plan like which twelve men to choose to become his disciples. At the conclusion of these preparations, the Devil attempted to separate Jesus from the will of His heavenly father. Jesus had the power to fulfill each request, but what the Devil was asking is outside of God’s will. Each tempting situation was geared toward a specific area of Jesus’ life. Physical hunger, mental acuity, and spiritual obedience. These 3 types of scenarios represent how individuals are tempted daily, aimed at separating human beings from the will of God.

And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written also, You shall not tempt, test thoroughly, or try exceedingly the Lord your God, Matthew 4:6-7.

The apostle Paul unlocks the key to overcoming temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:13. When confronted by the father of lies, John 8:44, Jesus kept looking for the way out. To overcome hunger, Jesus relied on the Word of God, quoting a verse from the Torah. To escape a dare which He was able to demonstrate, Jesus uses the Bible to correct the Devil’s misuse of Scripture. After gaining authority over the earth, Ephesians 2:2, the Devil offers this to Jesus. However, this request is directly opposed to the first commandment. Thus, Jesus finds the way out each time, refusing to deviate from God’s plan.

Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them. And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve.

Every human being has a weakness, sinful tendencies that they have a hard time resisting, Romans 7:15-17. As the ruler of the air, the Devil doesn’t need drones or hidden cameras, he sees and knows our weaknesses. Perhaps, this explains why so many former Christians have abandoned their faith, prodigals who have yet to come to their senses. Each decision you make has a blessing or consequence. Good choices keep you on track, but poor decisions cause you to drift further and further away from God. Freewill gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. However, at what point will you consider God’s calling, plan and will for your life? Whatever you decide, hold on to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

The Biblical Meaning of the Scum of the Earth

In the early first century, a Jewish carpenter developed a following. Just like modern movements, new fads that become popular create a bandwagon affect as people want to be part of something special. While traveling with his 12 disciples, Jesus encountered several individuals who wanted to join his ministry. According to Luke 10:1, rumors of an additional 72 disciples drew large crowds hoping to make it through the interview process. The end of Luke 9 details three candidates who were rejected by Jesus, unaware of the intense commitment that was necessary.

And it occurred that as they were going along the road, a man said to Him, Lord, I will follow You wherever You go. 58 And Jesus told him, Foxes have lurking holes and the birds of the air have roosts and nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head, Luke 9:57-58.

In a letter to the church of Corinth, Paul uses similar words to describe his life as an apostle. Based upon the passage below, Paul is pouring out his heart about the toll the ministry has taken on his life. Perhaps, some people in Corinth were relying on their background as philosophers, thinking that anyone could become an apostle. Just as Jesus bluntly rejected potential disciples years earlier, the apostle Paul goes into “a so you think this is easy mode.” Paul highlights being homeless, hungry and persecuted. Like a grand finale, Paul states that if you want to be an apostle for Christ, you have to be willing to become like the scum of the earth.

To this hour we have gone both hungry and thirsty; we [habitually] wear but one undergarment [and shiver in the cold]; we are roughly knocked about and wander around homeless. And we still toil unto weariness [for our living], working hard with our own hands. When men revile us [wound us with an accursed sting], we bless them. When we are persecuted, we take it patiently and endure it. When we are slandered and defamed, we [try to] answer softly and bring comfort. We have been made and are now the rubbish and filth of the world [the offscouring of all things, the scum of the earth], 1 Corinthians 4:11-13.

If you do a search on the internet for the scum of the earth, the apostle Paul is credited as the first to use this idiom. Upon receiving this letter, I’m sure there wasn’t a long line in Corinth to sign up to become an apostle. If you skip ahead to 1 Corinthians 12:4-12, not everyone is cut out to be an apostle or disciple. These special roles are designed for individuals blessed with specific gifts or called to follow Jesus as a missionary. Although some gifts are more glorified than others, Paul compares the body of Christ to a united group with many parts. The sooner you discover your place, the more effective your church will become. While no one wants to feel like the scum of the earth, sometimes you have to meet people where they are before leading souls to Jesus. If we are the body, it’s time to go where the lost have wandered off. This is the biblical context of the scum of the earth.

by Jay Mankus

A Special Endowment from God

Leadership is the action of leading a group of people through hardship, ordeals and trials. Genuine leaders cast a vision, take the initiative as a trail blazers to show the way and direct and guide followers through difficult times. Researchers have uncovered 12 different leadership styles that exist. A leadership style is merely the way a person uses power to lead other people. If you are still stuck at home as a non-essential worker, you’ve probably seen rogue governors of several states using the national guard and police officers to enforce their specific declarations. Several of these ordinances are unconstitutional, but these leaders are using fear of the Coronavirus to control American citizens.

Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity, 1 Timothy 4:12.

The older I become, the more I hear and see people blame God for disasters, failures or setbacks that they face in life.  Meanwhile, these same individuals, especially politicians, grandstand by taking credit for any accomplishment, success or victory in their city, state or county.  Instead of spreading around the praise to all the parties involved, press conferences are used to deflect blame while hoarding the credit.  Natural leaders don’t have to pretend to be successful as their labor is on display, a visible sign of spiritual fruit.  Unfortunately, God has become the scapegoat when things go wrong, a proverbial punching bag at the center of many complaints.

Do not neglect the gift which is in you, [that special inward endowment] which was directly imparted to you [by the Holy Spirit] by prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you [at your ordination]. 15 Practice and cultivate and meditate upon these duties; throw yourself wholly into them [as your ministry], so that your progress may be evident to everybody, 1 Timothy 4:14-15.

The passage above is a blue print for spiritual leadership. According to the apostle Paul, everyone is given a special endowment from God. This spiritual gift often lays dormant until the Holy Spirit enters your life through a personal relationship with Jesus, Romans 10:9-10. In the first century, the laying on of hands was a common practice for healing and prayer. The apostle Paul urges Timothy to fan into flame the spiritual gift revealed to him in 2 Timothy 1:6. In other words, you can’t be the leader God wants you to become until your spiritual gift is discovered and implemented. While you can’t control what others do or say, may this blog inspire you to show others the way as action speak louder than words.

by Jay Mankus

The Wind Beneath my Spiritual Wings

In case you haven’t heard, I regret to inform you that my former coach, groomsmen and spiritual mentor Ken Horne passed away last Wednesday. While I am certain Ken is now celebrating with Jesus in heaven, I never got the chance to say goodbye. I first met Ken as my Earth Science as a 7th grader at Hanby Junior High School. Despite earning a D, C, B and A in each of the 4 marking periods, Ken gave me an A for the year. Thinking this was a mistake, I stopped by Ken’s classroom on my way home from school. Ken’s response to my concern was, “by the end of the year, you were an A student so I gave you an A.” These words left a lasting impression on me.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.

Two years later, Ken and I ended up at the same school once again, Concord High in Wilmington, Delaware. This time Ken was my Physical Science teacher. Between 7th and 9th grade, I was lost, often feeling depressed and suicidal. Looking back, God brought Ken into my life to be the wind beneath my spiritual wings, gently leading me closer and closer to Christ. After thinking I was too cool for the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s huddle at Concord, I finally said yes to Ken’s persistent invitations as a sophomore. The greatest quality Ken possessed was the ability to recognize and see the potential in students. Despite my flaws, imperfections and stuttering, the Holy Spirit enabled Ken see what I could be if I trusted Jesus as my Savior.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full, John 10:10.

During my final three years at Concord, Ken invited me to numerous events, retreats and revivals. Before I ever knew what I mentor was, Ken showed me how to live the abundant life by demonstrating this as my swim coach, teacher and spiritual leader outside of school. Ken asked me to share my testimony for the first time at a retreat during my junior. What impressed Ken the most was this was the first time I didn’t stutter in public. A year later, Ken entrusted me as the Program Director for FCA, asking questions and leading spiritual discussions with my peers. These experiences prepared me to become a Summer Work Camp Coordinator, Youth Director and High School Bible teacher. Like anyone who met Ken, we will all miss him. Yet, for now, all I can do I flame into flame my spiritual gift so that I might become the wind beneath someone else’s spiritual wings. Rest in peace Ken.

by Jay Mankus

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