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S.A.N.S. Episode 353: The Wait is Over

Hurry up and wait is one of those expressions directed at my impatient nature over the years. As an active, anxious, and eager individual, if I’m not constantly moving, I begin to fall asleep, bored by a non-active life. However, from a spiritual standpoint, some people wait a lifetime searching for the meaning to life. When you’re pointed in the right direction to the passage below, your wait is over.

And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved, Acts 4:12.

Disciple’s song the Wait is Over contains a similar theme. If the Bible contains over one verses on wait and waiting, this tells me waiting is important life lesson impatient people need to learn. When it comes to heaven, there is only one name where salvation can be found, Jesus. One of Jesus’ disciples writes a letter to first century Christian to inform them that your eternal destination can be secured without a doubt, 1 John 5:12-13. When you call upon the name of Jesus, Romans 10:9-11, the wait is over.

by Jay Mankus

When the Voice of the Dead Cry Out From their Graves

I was first introduced to mediums by Oda Mae Brown, Whoppi Goldberg’s character in the 1990 film Ghost. While Oda Mae Brown knows in her heart that she’s not real, the death of Patrick Swayze’s character opens Oda’s world to the spiritual realm. A few years later Crossing Over became a popular show on television providing a similar service. As an elder at Red Lion, I asked our senior pastor what he thought about the ability to speak with the dead. Based upon the account of the Witch at Endor, he believed that some people actually have this ability with many playing the role of con artists.

And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And [the Lord] said, What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground, Genesis 4:9-10.

When I recently read the passage above, I was reminded of the 1999 film the Sixth Sense. The little boy Cole played by Haley Joel Osment possessed a sixth sense to see dead people. When Cole’s mom hired a psychologist played by Bruce Willis, Cole starts to open up about his unique ability. To avoid a spoiler alert, Willis who plays Dr. Malcom Crowe shows Cole that these dead people are trying to speak to him actually need his help. This portion of the Sixth Sense is one of the best illustrations of what Moses details in the passage above. Somehow Hollywood depicted God’s words of the dead crying out from their graves.

When Saul inquired of the Lord, He refused to answer him, either by dreams or by Urim [a symbol worn by the priest when seeking the will of God for Israel] or by the prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, Find me a woman who is a medium [between the living and the dead], that I may go and inquire of her. His servants said, Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor. So Saul disguised himself, put on other raiment, and he and two men with him went and came to the woman at night. He said to her, Perceive for me by the familiar spirit and bring up for me the dead person whom I shall name to you. The woman said, See here, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and wizards out of the land. Why then do you lay a trap for my life to cause my death? – 1 Samuel 28:6-9.

Samuel’s account of the Witch at Endor uses a similar style to Oda Mae Brown. When you place these mediums side by side for comparison, each appear to be unsure if what they are about to do will work. However, when Patrick Swayze’s and Samuel’s spirit are each called upon, both are astonished by their clear connection with the dead. If the Bible clearly suggests that the spirit of the dead can be communicated with, being able to hear and listen to the cries of the dead isn’t so far-fetched. I’ll let the words of the Bible help shape your own conclusion.

by Jay Mankus

Let Us

One of my greatest regrets in life was taking for granted my education as a child. Despite having several amazing teachers, I was never really impressed by the topic of English. If I had only paid attention in class to grammar back then, my career as an aspiring writer probably would have taken off by now. Nonetheless, the trinity within the Bible is revealed early in the Bible by Moses through the words “let us.”

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them, Genesis 1:26-27.

As the Classic Amplified Version of the Bible reveals in the passage above, Let Us refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Holy Ghost is used in the King James version to highlight this powerful invisible force. One of the ways I came to grasp the trinity was one person with three distinct personality traits. God the Father is the spiritual adult in the room, the disciplinarian who reminds you whenever you stray off course. Jesus the Son is the youthful version of God with the Spirit who serves as our spiritual guide.

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ([a]Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God [b]Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men, John 1:1-4.

One of Jesus’ disciples refers to Him as homoousias. This theological term was first used at the Council of Nicaea which was presided over by the emperor Constantine. The Nicene Creed was conceived at this council which agreed that Jesus is the same in being and the same in essence with God the Father. Jesus introduces the Holy Spirit of a counselor in John 14:14-16. Therefore, when you see the expression “Let Us” in the Bible, this united agreement was the force behind the Creation of the World.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 284: Who I Am

Mirrors provide a reflection to help you remember what you look like. If you look close enough, you’ll begin to see all of your imperfections. While writing a teenager pastor, the apostle Paul opens up about how he sees himself. Despite Paul’s spiritual transformation on the Road to Damascus, Paul saw himself as the greatest sinner of all. Perhaps Paul was haunted by overseeing the death of the apostle Stephen. This is the topics Ben Fuller sings about in his song Who I Am.

The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus (the Messiah) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost. 16 But I obtained mercy for the reason that in me, as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might show forth and display all His perfect long-suffering and patience for an example to [encourage] those who would thereafter believe on Him for [the gaining of] eternal life, 1 Timothy 1:15-16.

In this age of self-help books, many people try to hide their flaws from others. Yet, Christians are called to higher standards, Matthew 5:48. One of the first images in the attached video, Ben picks up a Bible. According to Hebrews 4:12, this book is living and active. Another passage speaks about how to use and operate the Bible, 2 Timothy 3:16-17. May the lyrics of Who I Am speak to you and encourage you to be honest and open with the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 276: Ain’t Nobody

While John 3:16 is one of the most recognized verses in the Bible, only one person heard these words in person. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who requested to meet with Jesus at night so that his colleagues wouldn’t think he was falling for his new teaching. Cody Barnes sings about Ain’t Nobody loves him like Jesus. Nicodemus came to the same conclusion, preparing Jesus’ body for burial in John 19: 38-42.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him, John 3:16-17.

Cody’s first claim to fame was as a gospel singer. This popularity opened the door for Cody to pursue a Christian music career with songs like Ain’t Nobody. Cody’s humility is revealed in the lyrics of this song. Over the course of his life, no one person has remained steady in their love for Cody. Yet, Jesus’ love is constant, described in 1 Corinthians 13.

by Jay Mankus

Guaranteeing Your Place in the Book of Life

There is a reason that the Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Perhaps, reading pages that are described as living and active can be engaging and life changing, Hebrews 4:12. Yet, the one question I always wanted to know about as a child was what happens to human beings after you die? My question went unanswered for me until college.

I entreat and advise Euodia and I entreat and advise Syntyche to agree and to work in harmony in the Lord. And I exhort you too, [my] genuine yokefellow, help these [two women to keep on cooperating], for they have toiled along with me in [the spreading of] the good news (the Gospel), as have Clement and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life. Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! – Philippians 4:2-4.

Attending any funeral is depressing and sad. Yet, when you don’t know if the person who passed away is with Jesus in heaven can be crushing and gut wrenching. I remember attending a funeral at a strange church in high school after my friend committed suicide. The pastor kept saying “if there is God and if there is a heaven, we hope that Kevin is there.” This experience wanted me to know more about the Bible’s teaching on the Book of Life.

And if anyone’s [name] was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was hurled into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:15.

The apostle Paul mentions the Book of Life in today’s first passage. The context of this letter highlights why you should rejoice in the Lord. Perhaps, this is the same reason why angels rejoice in heaven whenever a lost sheep is found by the Shepherd, Luke 15:7. While 99 percent of funerals claim that the person who died is now in heaven, this isn’t consistent with Jesus’ teaching in Mattew 7:13-14. According to one disciple, you can know for sure, guaranteeing your place in the Book of Life, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

When Heaven Opened Up

Revelation in the Bible is one of those books that you have to read multiple times to truly understand what’s going on and what has to occur prior to Jesus’ second coming. As I finish up my summer long study of Revelation, it’s amazing how much important information I picked up this time around. I’m not sure how I missed this content before, but John writes about the day heaven opened up.

After that I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse [appeared]! The One Who was riding it is called Faithful (Trustworthy, Loyal, Incorruptible, Steady) and True, and He passes judgment and wages war in righteousness (holiness, justice, and uprightness). 12 His eyes [blaze] like a flame of fire, and on His head are many kingly crowns (diadems); and He has a title (name) inscribed which He alone knows or can understand. 13 He is dressed in a robe dyed by [c]dipping in blood, and the title by which He is called is The Word of God, Revelation 19:11-13.

American businesses have a way with grand openings. Inside and outside before a now store opens, progress is made daily as buildings begin to take shape. Some may use countdowns; others promise free items for the first x number of customers, and I’ve been to openings with raffle prizes all day long. One of John’s final visions that make up Revelation is the day when heaven opens up for good.

And the troops of heaven, clothed in fine linen, dazzling and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth goes forth a sharp sword with which He can smite (afflict, strike) the nations; and He will shepherd and control them with a staff (scepter, rod) of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath and indignation of God the All-Ruler (the Almighty, the Omnipotent), Revelation 19:14-15.

The word “heaven” appears to 327 times in the Old Testament and 255 times in the New Testament. What has always confused me is what happens to all the people who have died prior to Jesus’ second coming and the day of judgment. The best explanation is provided by one of Jesus’ disciples, 2 Peter 3:8. If time in heaven is infinite, this time gap will be taken care of. The most important thing is making your reservation now, 1 John 5:12-13, so when heaven opens for good, you’ll have a room waiting for you.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 264: Every Step of the Way

Cade Thompson has used his passion for music to reach a broad audience. This energetic and soulful Contemporary Christian music artist not only appeals to believers but has a mainstream pop following as well. I was introduced to Cade Thompson through his song Every Step of the Way while listening to K-Love Radio.

Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, Psalm 119:104-105.

The lyrics of Every Step of the Way remind me of the words of the Psalmist in the passage above. The Bible isn’t just a book to learn more about Jesus. Rather, this book contains words that are living and active, Hebrews 4:12. Subsequently, as you study the Bible, the wisdom inside can serve as a lamp to your feet and light to guide your way in the future.

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

S.A.N.S. Episode 248: Written on My Heart

Like trends in society, Christian music’s version of a boy band came in the form of Plus One in 1999. This group consisted of five individuals: Nate Cole, Jason Perry, Jeremy Mhire, Nathan Walters and Gabe Combs. Plus One immediately hit it big time with their debut album, The Promise. One of their songs which has spoken to me over the years is Written on My Heart,

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. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts; [then], Deuteronomy 6:4-6.

The lyrics of Written on My Heart come from a Jewish tradition passed down to Moses. To avoid forgetting the God of Abraham, there was an emphasis in Jewish homes to raise up and train children to keep the commandments. As someone who struggles to stay focused as I read the Bible, I have to write down what I learn daily so I don’t forget it. May today’s song help you to keep God ever present in life.

by Jay Mankus

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