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Tag Archives: Spiritual Gifts

Changing to Meet God’s Will

As I read the passage below, I was reminded of two Christian songs with a similar theme. In Reach sings about the Manner of Man in their 1993 song. Meanwhile, a few years later 4Him released the Measure of a Man. According to John, repentance refers to changing the inner man so that Christians can meet God’s will for their lives. Change begins internally and can lead to an external transformation as acts of contrition are lived out by faith.

Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent, Revelation 2:5.

When you move to a new town, it’s easy to miss a turn even when you’re following directions on a phone. This lack of knowledge often leads to u-turns when the road allows it. From a spiritual perspective, rarely do I follow the tugging on my heart to act, give or help someone in need. Until you’re willing to change the inner man deep inside of you, being introduced to and meeting God’s will is put on hold.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

The apostle Paul goes into further details about discovering God’s will for your life in the passage above. Most churches use a spiritual gifts test to help their members begin this process. Meeting God’s will begins with a transformed mind which is renewed through scripture. Anyone who repents by confessing your sins, follows this with acts of contrition and begins to align their lives with God’s will is on their way to changing your inner person to meet God’s will.

by Jay Mankus

Sorting Out the Details

Whenever you plan a weekend getaway or vacation, one member of your family has to sort out all the details. If you’re flying, what’s the best day and time to get the cheapest deal? Where are you going to stay and how close is this to the main attractions? During one trip early in my marriage, I forgot about all the Nascar fans in town for the race at the Monster Mile in Dover. My oversight made it impossible to find a hotel on our way back, ending up in a dive in the middle of nowhere.

If you know (perceive and are sure) that He [Christ] is [absolutely] righteous [conforming to the Father’s will in purpose, thought, and action], you may also know (be sure) that everyone who does righteously [and is therefore in like manner conformed to the divine will] is born (begotten) of Him [[r]God], 1 John 2:29.

One of Jesus’ disciples writes about sorting out all the necessary spiritual details to conform to God’s will for your life. The apostle Paul starts this process by developing the right mindset in Romans 12:1-2. While reaching out to a teenager pastor in the first century, Paul encourages this spiritual leader to daily apply his gifts and talents, 2 Timothy 1:6-7. As Christians begin to ascertain their spiritual gifts and adopt the mind of Christ, sorting out God’s will for your life begins to fall into place.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

However, sorting out all the details of conforming to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action will vary for each Christian. Some who come to a personal faith in Jesus late in life often have a clear vision of God’s calling. Young followers may have to explore for a couple of years or a decade, going through their own prodigal experience. Or if you’re like me you have to reinvent yourself at a stage in life to transition into a new job or calling. Whatever steps God takes you through, remember that success is the process of arriving until the Lord calls you home.

by Jay Mankus

Stimulating Your Spiritual Senses

Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment star in the 1999 film the Sixth Sense. Willis plays a child psychologist who encounters Osment, a young boy with an unique gift. This Sixth Sense remains hidden within Cole until Dr. Malcolm Crowe earns his trust. Following a series of sessions, Cole takes a risk to reveal “I see dead people.” Whenever an usual gift or talent is uncovered, it takes time to figure out how to apply this in a practical way.

Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], 22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines, Colossians 1:21-22.

Throughout the New Testament, the apostle Paul leaves a series of bread crumbs for Christians to stimulate their spiritual senses. However, there are several obstacles that one must overcome before you can begin to scratch the surface of your potential in Christ, Philippians 4:13. Cravings and desires wage war against human souls, 1 Peter 2:11. When minds begin to drift toward temporary pleasures, Romans 8:5-9, there is no room for the Spirit to operate.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. 25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit,] Galatians 5:24-25.

As individuals struggle with this internal tug of war, Galatians 5:16-18, spiritual gifts lay dormant, invisible to human eyes. However, as Christians walk by faith and not by sight, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit becomes achievable. This daily exercise heightens one’s spiritual senses that lie within a transformed heart, Psalm 51:10. After attending a 2 day Discernment Conference, my spiritual senses were awakened. Although I deviate from God’s Word from time to time, keeping in Step with God’s Spirit has been the secret to my success for stimulating my spiritual senses.

by Jay Mankus

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

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