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Tag Archives: superman

Anointed with a Great Power

One of the disciples makes an interesting observation about Jesus.  Just as Lois Lane sought to comprehend the source of Superman’s powers, Peter points to the anointing of the Holy Spirit to explain Jesus’ great power.  As someone who spent nearly 3 years living and traveling with Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit defied logic and science.  This anointing occurred as followers watched John baptize Jesus in the Jordan River, Matthew 3:13-17.

You know the things that have taken place throughout Judea, starting in Galilee after the baptism preached by John— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him, Acts 10:37-38.

As Peter watched Jesus day after day perform miracles, a doctor attempts to explain how the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to heal individuals oppressed by the Devil.  In an era where mental health continues to be a mystery, the Holy Spirit served as x-ray vision to identify unclean spirits messing up the lives of human beings.  The four gospels are filled with testimonies of where Jesus addresses, confronts and casts out demons using the power of the Holy Spirit.

“I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you, John 14:25-26.

As Passion Week, the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, drew close, Jesus gathered his disciples together to reveal a future gift from God.  The disciple whom Jesus loved refers to this spiritual entity as an Advocate, Counselor and Intercessor.  On the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, the Holy Spirit fell upon followers of Jesus.  According to the New Testament, this great power is available to those who are baptized following their conversation.  While the presence of the Holy Spirit may not be as visible today, this great power is awaiting for those who believe.  May the words of the prophet, Joel 2:28-29, deliver a new anointing with great power.

by Jay Mankus

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What are You Hiding From…Waiting For?

The concept of a superman was conceived into a fictional comic book character by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938.  Forty years later, Christopher Reeves starred in the movie, disguising himself as Clark Kent, a mild-mannered newspaper reporter at the Daily Planet.  Unsure of how or when to reveal his super powers, Clark waits until his adult life to introduce himself to the world.  Perhaps, Superman was afraid, not sure how he would be received.  This fear, although subtle as it might have been, prevented miraculous acts from being demonstrated daily.

Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, and his son Gideon was beating wheat in the wine press [instead of the threshing floor] to [hide it and] save it from the Midianites. 12 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O brave man,” Judges 6:11-12.

Human beings can have fragile psyches, especially when confidence is lacking.  In the passage above, you find a mighty warrior working in a blue collar job.  Before Gideon became a famous Old Testament leader, he lived in relative obscurity.  Whether Gideon was hiding, waiting or uncertain about the next move to make in life, an angel of the Lord reminded him of his calling in life.  Gideon wasn’t just a hard working man, he was brave commander who needed a slight nudge from God.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said, “And we are coming with you.” So they went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. As morning was breaking, Jesus [came and] stood on the beach; however, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus, John 21:3-4.

After Jesus died on a cross, the disciples lost their leader.  After a couple days of mourning, Peter appears to fall back on his former life as a fisherman.  Peter convinces a couple of the disciples to go with him, staying out all night to fish.  When this trips turns out to be a complete failure, Jesus arrives on the scene to save the day.  Following what some refer to as the First Breakfast, Jesus gives Peter a pep talk.  The subtitle of this conversation, John 21:15-17, in my Bible is love motivation.  Jesus reminds Peter of his spiritual identity, petra, the rock upon which Jesus will build an earthly church.

The Lord is good to those who wait [confidently] for Him, To those who seek Him [on the authority of God’s word], Lamentations 3:25.

For the past six years, my life has been in a holding pattern.  To a certain extent, I can relate to Gideon and Peter, stuck in a transitional period.  Yet, at some point I have to come out of the doldrums.  What am I hiding from?  What am I waiting for before I act?  Perhaps, I need to turn my attention to the Old Testament, putting into practice Lamentations 3:25.  May this blog inspire you to get off the bench and get into the spiritual game called life.  Trust in the Lord, lean on the Holy Spirit for understanding and God will straighten your path for the future.

by Jay Mankus

You Might Want to Check This Out

Whenever a student enters their first semester of high school or college, transitioning to this next level can be difficult.  Some professors and teachers understand this, providing subtle hints during lectures.  The more serious might exclaim, “what aren’t you writing this down.”  Meanwhile, savvy veterans tend to be more entertaining, coughing in gest “this seems like a good test question,” winking to anyone paying attention.  Ultimately, I learned that anytime facts, information or statistics were repeated, it was something I should definitely study.

If your hand causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]! It is better for you to enter life crippled, than to have two hands and go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44 [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out.] – Mark 9:43-44.

During a first century speech to his disciples, Jesus repeats the same sentence almost verbatim three times.  The subtext above this passage in my Bible reads Dire Warnings,  I don’t mean to be Captain Obvious, but you might want to check into this beginning with Mark 9:44.  Since the previous verse mentions hell, this statement refers to an eternal reality.  From a literal stand point, Jesus highlights a constant gnawing on human flesh in a place without any escape from fire.  Jesus’ dire warning is to scare souls straight from this state of eternal suffering.

If your foot causes you to stumble and sin, cut it off [that is, remove yourself from the source of temptation]! It would be better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell, 46 [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not put out.] – Mark 9:45-46

Jesus’ advice to avoid this destination is through the Old Testament practice of purging.  While Jesus isn’t telling people to physical remove parts of your body, the actual call to action refers to removing the source of temptation within your life.  For an alcoholic its getting rid of any beverages that might cause you to stumble.  Those addicted to pornographic must place filters on computers, cancel mail subscriptions and remove all magazines that promotes lust.  Everyone has a weakness.  There is no such thing as a superman or super woman.  Rather, each must meditate, pray and act immediately upon conviction so that any traces of temptation are removed.  May you be successful in this constant battle to avoid the wrong eternal destination.

by Jay Mankus

 

Waiting for Superman to Arrive

William Shakespeare wrote about lovers whose deaths reconciled two feuding families.  When tragedy strikes Romeo and Juliet, readers feel the pain of this story.  Shakespeare borrowed from an Italian tale adding his own spin to his famous novel taught in American English classes.  Yet, like anything in life, people change, evolve and learn to adapt.  If a similar classic was crafted today, the title would read something like Waiting for Superman to Arrive.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him, Lamentations 3:25.

As millennials become co-dependent on technology, the next generation is in danger of being lulled into complacency.  Sure, it’s nice to be able to keep up with electronic advances, but do you really need a device named after a girl to help you remember things?  Have people become so lazy that you can’t even find a location without asking Alexa or Sery?  This trend breeds individuals to go through life waiting for others to help you out.  Unfortunately, Superman is a comic character who isn’t going to rescue you from the trials of life.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay, Habakkuk 2:3.

Don’t get me wrong, waiting isn’t a bad thing.  In fact, the Bible encourages souls to be patient, seeking God as you wait for answers.  Nonetheless, the only Superman in history lived most of his life undercover, serving his community as a carpenter.  Before his departure in the first century, this man spoke of a counselor yet to come, an invisible presence able to direct and guide human hearts.  Instead of sitting back and relying on an electronic voice, it’s time to be proactive.  Therefore, as followers of Christ waiting for the second coming of Superman, Jesus, trust in the Lord so that you will be ready like the good servants in the Parable of the Talents.

by Jay Mankus

 

Moderation

In ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 documentary, the travails of John Daly are highlighted in Hit it Hard.  Based upon a song written by John, a two time major winner on the PGA Tour, Daly shares his battle with alcohol, gambling and series of failed marriages.  Due to an addictive personality, the concept of moderation is something Daly has has a hard time grasping.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything, 1 Corinthians 6:12.

Whether you are Superman, a professional athlete or an average human being, everyone has a kryptonite.  This condition, element or weakness prevents individuals from reaching their full potential.  Temptation is always lurking, trying to lure people away from good habits and safe environments.  Danger arrives when inner demons convince former addicts that they can handle a situation without God’s help.  This usually results in self-destruction.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body, 1 Corinthians 6:18.

There are ways to view moderation.  First, some will say that adults should be mature enough to know their limits.  Requiring self-control, this logical approach gives people freedom to develop boundaries.  The second perspective is more cautious, understanding that once you open pandora’s box, there’s no going back.  Either way, unless you have a friend who holds you accountable or a personal relationship with God, the quest for moderation can be a never ending battle.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

A Real Life Superhero

Whether you are referring to one of Marvel Comics fictional characters, watching a Super Friends episode or analyzing films like Unbreakable, superheros often have 3 things in common.  First, each possess some sort of super human power which defies the laws of physics and gravity.  Second,  individuals keep a low profile, developing an alias to keep their true identity a secret.  Finally, most have an arch enemy who seeks to ascertain a weakness, trying to uncover their krytonite.

While reading the gospel of Mark, I stumbled upon an interesting thought, Jesus was a real life superhero.  Like Superman, Jesus came from another world, Colossians 1:15-17.  Before the day came to reveal his special powers, Jesus lived in obscurity as a carpenter in the lowly town of Nazareth.  Jesus flew under the radar for thirty years until John the Baptist was imprisoned, then killed.  However, before his three years of public service began, a real Devil threatened to destroy Jesus’ ministry before it began.

Following the calling of his first four disciples, Mark 1:16-20, Jesus introduced himself to the Jewish community.  Meanwhile, a demonic spirit tried to spoil his coming out party, Mark 1:23-26.  Foiling his enemies first plot, the legend of Jesus began to spread.  Similar to modern superheros, Jesus remained humble.  Rather than proclaiming, “look what I’ve done,” Jesus gave his heavenly Father the credit.  Nearly 2,000 years following his resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit has been left behind so that those who believe, Romans 10:9-10, may experience an extraordinary life, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Unbreakable Theory

In the realm of Super heroes, there are usual two polar opposites who become arch enemies.  Like characters within Marvel Comics, it takes time for each individuals’ hidden powers to become realized.  Through trial and error, supernatural abilities are developed, harnessed and put into action to either better the world or pursue evil.  Although appearing unbreakable, every hero and villain possess a weakness, invisible until their Kryptonite sucks away their strength.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. – Galatians 5:17

In the 2000 film Unbreakable, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis portray a modern day relationship between a villain and superhero.  However, each character appears lost, unaware of their purpose in life.  Inspired by a love for comic books, Samuel L. Jackson resorts to terrorism, searching for someone who is unbreakable.  Meanwhile, Bruce Willis plays a security guard, unaware of his unique gift until he passes Jackson’s test, the lone survivor of a deadly train wreck.

As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. – Romans 7:17

In the spiritual world, a similar force is at work, resulting in an unseen battle between good and evil.  C.S. Lewis tackles this subject in Mere Christianity within chapter 1 of Book 2, entitled the Invasion.  Known as dualism in theology, there are two independent powers in the universe that are in conflict with one another.  These competing forces of good and evil require a third party, a judge to determine who is to blame or at fault.  This war rages on in the human body daily as the sinful nature and worldly desires entice souls through temptation to choose wrong over right.  Although there aren’t superheroes in this life, may the power of the Holy Spirit keep you from becoming forever broken.

by Jay Mankus

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