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Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

Discovering Your Divine Purpose in 2021

Purpose is like a pulse that provides a reason to get out of bed every day. The book definition of purpose is the reason for which something is done, created or for which something exists. In a letter to the Church of Philippi, the apostle Paul makes a fascinating statement. For a Christian, there is a divine purpose that God began in you as a child and desires for you to carry this on to completion.

By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible, Hebrews 11:3.

Paul said what? What signal and signs did I miss? Did I blow God off? Was I so consumed by my own life that I was oblivious to the people God sent into my life? Looking back at my teenage years, I certainly took several detours and wrong turns. I resisted God on numerous occasions until my nervous breakdown in high school. I may not have wandered around for 40 years like Israel, but I was still stubborn for 2 decades.

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 12:2.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s never too late to discover your divine purpose. Using an analogy from Romans 9:19-29, God is a heavenly potter and we are the clay. Since a piece of art takes time to create, discovering this divine purpose begins with a spiritual transformation. Along the way, the Bible is like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The move you read and study God’s Word, this purpose starts to come into focus, beginning with the borders. From here, the Holy Spirit serves as a counselor to lead the way.

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

When Jesus is Trying to Get Your Attention

Jesus used parables to entertain anyone who was willing to listen to his stories. Yet, Jesus makes a transitional statement 78 times in the four gospels of the Bible. The phrase “I tell you the truth” is a powerful method to get your attention as Jesus turns an interesting story into a serious conversation. In the words that follow “I tell you the truth,” this is code for pay close attention to what I am about to say.

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words [who listens to My message] and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me has (possesses now) eternal life. And he does not come into judgment [does not incur sentence of judgment, will not come under condemnation], but he has already passed over out of death into life. 25 Believe Me when I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the time is coming and is here now when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear it shall live, John 5:24-25.

Back in my days as a high school Bible teacher, I wasn’t trying to fool or trick anyone. There were usually 3 tests per semester depending upon the class. During each unit review, I would throw in some catch phrases whenever I was about to cover a potential test question. In the case of Jesus, whenever the Bible contains “I tell you the truth,” mouths should stop taking as eager ears open, ready to listen and learn.

Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another. 26 When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. 27 Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him], Ephesians 4:25-27.

From an English perspective, therefore is used to introduce a logical conclusion. If X must be true, anytime you come across a therefore while reading the Bible, get ready for a call to action. Meanwhile, Jesus uses parables to make people think. As the disciples pondered what Jesus was trying to communicate, they often privately met with Him to confirm the moral of these stories. As you continue to read the Bible on your own, be ready the next time the Holy Spirit is trying to get your attention.

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual All Access Pass

My wife Leanne spent nearly five years working for a relocation company. While working as a secretary, she developed relationships with various corporations throughout the United States. One of the benefits of her job was receiving all access passes to the Nascar Race at Dover Downs as well as private suites for a local PGA tour event. These VIP Passes were always one of the highlights of each year, enjoying these sporting events with our 3 children.

So Jesus said again, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that I Myself am the Door [a]for the sheep. All others who came [as such] before Me are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not listen to and obey them, I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture, John 10:7-9.

Meanwhile, the disciple whom Jesus loved recalls a story Jesus told and a vision that he received. John points out that Jesus referred to himself as the Door twice in back to back sentences. This imagery eludes to a spiritual all access pass. This invitation is for sheep who know, recognize and listen to their spiritual shepherd. Instead of trying to find another way in, Jesus opens the front door for his followers.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me, Revelation 3:20.

In the final book of the Bible, John provides his own analogy of God. Yet, to set the scene, John describes a door that only has a handle on one side. If I’m understanding this illustration correctly, God’s side of the door does not have a handle. While God is able to knock on His side of the door to get our attention, only we can let God in, Romans 6:23. When you do, there is a spiritual access pass awaiting via the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

The Struggle to Conform to God’s Will

Have you ever wondered, “why is it so hard to find your place in this world?” While you may have discovered your spiritual gift, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, finding the ideal position where you can flourish is no small task. If you are blessed to be able to actually do what you love, there is still one thing to consider. Are you serving the Lord with your God given talents or do you find yourself struggling to conform with God’s will?

Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even [f]slothful in achieving spiritual insight]. 12 For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food, Hebrews 5:11-12.

According to one biblical author, struggling to conform to God’s will is a sign of spiritual immaturity. From a psychological perspective, Abraham Maslow suggests that there are certain basic needs that haven’t been met or fulfilled. Subsequently, most people go throughout life without reaching what Maslow calls self-realization. The apostle Paul provides an alternative view based upon developing the mindset of offering your body as a living sacrifice, Romans 12:1.

For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! 14 But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law, Hebrews 5:13-14.

Paul’s teaching compliments the passage above. When you struggle to conform with God’s will, one of three issues is likely present. Either you’re not living a purpose driven life, your thoughts tend to dwell on the sinful nature rather than the Holy Spirit or spiritual action and deeds are missing from your faith. Similar to the message Jesus shares with the Pharisees in Matthew 9:10-13, the spiritual healthy are able to take care of themselves by conforming to God’s will. The sick and sinners need a spiritual doctor to show them the way, Romans 12:2.

by Jay Mankus

A Little Bit of Kindness Can Go A Long Way

In the King James Version of the Bible, the actual term for kindness is one word “lovingkindness.” Loving kindness is found 30 times in this translation of the Bible. The most famous passage where kindness is found is known as the Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. According to the apostle Paul, kindness is a reflection of the Holy Spirit living inside of a human being. When displayed, a little bit of kindness can go a long way.

But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors [z]so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but [aa]considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked. 36 So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these], Luke 6:35-36.

Jesus has a different standard for his followers. Christians are expected to not only love their enemies, but to pray for them as well. When kindness is poured out upon the heart broken, poor and total strangers, souls are encouraged and uplifted. Unfortunately, in this age of social media, kindness is a lost art. Rather than share kind comments, posts and tweets, gossip, slander and trashing others has taken center stage.

 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). 32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you, Ephesians 4:31-32.

The apostle Paul reveals in the passage above how to overcome negativity. Instead of allowing yourself to be poisoned by the darkness in this world, Paul calls Christians to be compassionate, tenderhearted and understanding. Despite how other individuals may treat you, genuine kindness is learning how to forgive as Jesus forgave you. When this perspective becomes fully grasped, a little bit of kindness can go a long way in changing your spheres of influence for the better.

by Jay Mankus

Created, Connected and Called

If you’re not careful, life can become like a never ending roller coaster with corkscrews, free falls and upside down loops that make you dizzy. When your feet hit the pavement after immediately getting off this ride, it may take a couple of minutes before you can walk in a straight line again. On the surface, an amusement ride may look harmless, but the thrill that follows can affect your body for the rest of the day. Whenever you experience this uneasy feeling, all you want to do is find a seat. hoping that you’ll recover quickly.

Do not blush or be ashamed then, to testify to and for our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for His sake, but [[d]with me] take your share of the suffering [to which the preaching] of the Gospel [may expose you, and do it] in the power of God. [For it is He] Who delivered and saved us and called us with a calling in itself holy and leading to holiness [to a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness]; [He did it] not because of anything of merit that we have done, but because of and to further His own purpose and grace (unmerited favor) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago], 2 Timothy 1:8-9.

From a spiritual perspective, one of Satan’s schemes to disconnect you from God. Like a long distance relationship that falls apart over time, separation causes you to forget what drew you together. Likewise, if you go a couple of days, weeks or a month with reading the Bible, spiritual qualities which once flowed naturally out of you begin to evaporate. If this persists, Christians may forgot who created them, faith will start to crack and the calling you once received from God can become like a distant memory.

We are assured and know that [[j]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was [k]aware and [l]loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. 30 And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being], Romans 8:28-30.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul touches on God’s persistence throughout life. Like the loving Father portrayed by Jesus in the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, God is waiting for you to return. Just as front porches once served as ways to pass the time each summer, God is the parent in a rocking chair waiting for you to come home. When you do, minds will be refreshed by your heavenly Creator. Hearts will start to sense the Holy Spirit drawing you closer to reconnect with God. Finally, as you reflect upon the Bible and pray, God’s will and purpose will be revealed so you can continue this life long journey known as faith.

by Jay Mankus

The Mystic Secret of Faith

The English term Mysticism comes from the Greek word μύω meaning “I conceal”. The Greek derivative μυστικός, also known as mystikos refers to “an initiate.” The Christian definition of Mysticism is that part, or element, of Christian belief and practice that concerns the preparation for, the consciousness of, and the effect of a direct and transformative presence of God. The mystic part comes into play when the Holy Ghost, an invisible presence can transform the life of a rebellious and wayward soul.

They must possess the mystic secret of the faith [Christian truth as hidden from ungodly men] with a clear conscience, 1 Timothy 3:9.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul claims that the truth about Christianity is hidden from the ungodly. Since Paul doesn’t go into greater details, perhaps Paul is referring to individuals who are self absorbed by their own sinful nature. Jesus uses imagery like light shining into darkness, John 1:5. One of the ways truth is hidden is when Satan snatches away what was sown in someone’s heart, Matthew 13:19. When you add this to lust of the flesh and pride. 1 John 2:15-17, the love of the world prevents many from trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior, Romans 10:9-10.

But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, 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 cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you, John 14:26.

As Passion Week began, Jesus gave hints to the transformative presence of God. The Holy Spirit is like an inner guide who helps, discerns, intercedes and guide you toward what God wants you to do and where you should go. Jesus demonstrates the mystic secret of faith while praying early in the morning, Mark 1:35-36. While the disciples had their own ideas on how they were going to spend the day, the Holy Spirit gave Jesus precise instructions. To a certain extent, I never really know what topic I am going to write about each week, but when the Spirit moves I follow by typing until my blogs are completed. In the end, faith comes from hearing the Word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

by Jay Mankus

Just Don’t Read…Get the Know the Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake, Psalm 23:1-3.

Sheep are mentioned more than 500 in the Bible, more than any other animal.  Sheep were important to nomads and the agricultural life of Hebrews in the Old Testament.  Whether you’re talking about the 23rd Psalm or the Parable of the Lost Sheep, this animal is used to symbolize the relationship between God and his followers.  As you read the beginning of Luke 15, Jesus is like a shepherd who is willing to leave behind the faithful sheep to find the one who has wandered off.

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over, Psalm 23:4-5.

Unfortunately, stubborn individuals are resistant to change. While people may experience moments of guilt from within their conscience to stop what they are doing, the disobedient tend to press on, full steam ahead. Regardless of how pure in heart that you may be, everyone dabbles in rebellion, especially when you come across a rule that doesn’t make any sense. However, until the Biblical Shepherd steers you in the right direction, you’ll do lots of wandering until you find your way home.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). 11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep, John 10:10-11.

The disciple whom Jesus loved compared his spiritual leader to a good shepherd. Instead referring to an actual shepherd tending after his sheep, Jesus served as a father figure to shelter human beings from the Devil. While the attacks of this spiritual enemy have continued long after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, just don’t read the Bible, get to know the Good Shepherd, aka God’s one and only son Jesus Christ. As you open the Bible, the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see what it takes to live the abundant life that Jesus promised in the passage above.

by Jay Mankus

Write It Out in Plain Sight

John Heywood wrote “A Dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of All the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue” in the 1500’s. The printing of this book is the first known author to address the concept “out of sight out of mind”. As God called Moses to write out what the Jewish faith refers to the Second Law, the book of Deuteronomy serves as a refresher to anyone who may have forgotten one of God’s laws. Understanding the shortcomings of human beings, God’s plan was to write out in plain sight to overcome the reality of out of sight out of mind.

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.

In the passage above, the Holy Spirit leads Moses to take the first commandment and write it out in such a way to help people understand how to love an invisible God. This is accomplished by putting everything you have which includes all your heart, soul and mind. Don’t just say follow and keep this commandment, but demonstrate this through action as love flows out of your heart. Part of Jesus’ teaching is that you will know my followers by their love, John 13:34-35.

You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate, and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates, Deuteronomy 6:7-9.

Unfortunately, we live in a fallen society that seems to become more corrupt and darker with each passing generation, 1 Peter 2:11-12. Despite this reality, writing out inspirational verses of the Bible on a note card or sticky note gives your a reminder of what you should shoot for in life. While perfection is unachievable in our mortal bodies, writing out what is admirable in plain sight, Philippians 4:8-9, provides a daily goal and vision for the future.

by Jay Mankus

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