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Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

S.A.N.S. Episode 114: Perfect Day

Manchester, England is often associated with football, a.k.a. Europe’s soccer. However, today’s song comes from a group based in Manchester. LZ7 was founded by Lindz West in 2005. LZ7 uses Christian electronic dance to share their faith through hip music. While there are a couple of different versions of Perfect Day on You Tube, I selected the one with Lauren Olds.

And He said to them, Let us be going on into the neighboring country towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out. 39 [So] He went throughout the whole of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons, Mark 1:38-39.

When you wake in the morning, everyone has aspirations for having the day of your life. Movies like Dead Poets Society point to the Latin expression Carpe Diem: seize the day. This is exactly what Jesus does in the passage above. Beginning his day with a walk and time in prayer, the Holy Spirit leads Jesus to the exact place where God wants his disciples to go. The rest is history and the first of many Perfect Days. Unfortunately, when a human being exercises their own free will via a school shooting, days and lives are forever ruined. May a spirit of prayer lift up all families impacted by today’s tragedy in Uvalde.

by Jay Mankus

Wasting the Time God Gives You

Whether you own an alarm clock, phone, or watch, time doesn’t stop when you fall asleep. From the time you get to the time you go to bed; time keeps ticking away. Some days you may be productive while others have too many distractions to get what you want done. Subsequently, you’re either living the abundant life that Jesus promised, John 10:10, or you’re wasting the time that God has given you.

And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. 13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. 14 And when he had spent all he had, a [g]mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want, Luke 15:11-14.

The Bible uses the expression of sitting down to signal completion. When completing God’s will for His life by dying on a cross, Jesus sat down to be with God the Father in heaven. Yet, many Christians sit down at the end of each day without finishing what the Holy Spirit has called them to do. Subsequently, sitting down often results in wasting the time that God has given you on earth.

For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 Indeed, we hear that some among you are disorderly [that they are passing their lives in idleness, neglectful of duty], being busy with other people’s affairs instead of their own and doing no work, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11.

Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a little bit of prodigal spirit within all human beings. For some it’s the temptation of temporary pleasures, others struggle with materialism and people like me have a stubbornness that is hard to let go of. These weaknesses prevent Christians from seizing the moments in each day. Perhaps it’s time to stop wasting God’s time so that you can begin to taste the abundant life which Jesus has promised, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode103: Whom Shall I Fear?

Chris Tomlin has slowly become the Michael W. Smith of modern-day Contemporary Christian Music. You don’t have to go far to recognize Tomlin’s popularity as fans have purchased over 7 million records. Today’s featured song is a remake of a popular church hymn Whom Shall I Fear? This open ended question serves as a reflection to consider God’s promises and power to protect you from harm.

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love [g]turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear [h]brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection], 1 John 4:18.

Fear of one of those inner demons that often results in nightmares. Yet, fear can come in the form of peer pressure, especially in this age of virtue signaling and wokeness. However, the apostle Paul reminds his readers that the Holy Spirit is greater than fear, 2 Timothy 1:7. As Christians develop and mature in the love of Jesus, this knowledge can and will expel every trace of fear. Enjoy Chris’ song.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 100: Kings and Queens

Audio Adrenaline started out as a pop/rock outfit that emerged out of Kentucky Christian College in 1986. There aren’t many bands that last 20 years and release ten plus albums. This longevity is apparent in today’s featured song Kings and Queens which is part of a passion project from 2013. If you haven’t seen the attached video, the lyrics of Kings and Queens are moving as Audio Adrenaline seeks to demonstrate the love of Christ to Haiti.

Then little children were brought to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed. 15 And He put His hands upon them, and then went on His way, Matthew 19:13-15.

Perhaps, the inspiration behind Kings and Queens comes from the passage above. The disciples didn’t feel like children were worth their time as ministry leaders. Yet, Jesus has to correct them of their ungodly belief so that future children will feel part of the body of Christ. Although not everyone possesses the personality to relate to and reach young people, God calls all Christians to love. Therefore, as you listen to Kings and Queens, may the Holy Spirit inspire you to love your neighbors as yourself.

by Jay Mankus

Recognize, Perceive and Understand

A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection. Over several decades of attending church, I’ve heard pastors refer to God instances where the hand of God is perceived to perform a miracle. Prior to 1555, the Bible did not contain individual verses. These were added to the Vulgate Bible to help readers identity memorable portions of a book.

By this we come to know (progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand) the [essential] love: that He laid down His [own] life for us; and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [[l]in Him], 1 John 3:16.

Everyone knows about John 3:16’s popularity as one of the most iconic verses in the Bible. However, do you recognize, perceive or understand a commonality between John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16? The latter is quoting the words of Jesus addressed to a first century Pharisee named Nicodemus. The passage above serves as a reminder so that you recognize, perceive, and understand God’s love for you.

 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, John 3:16.

As I write blogs today, the Holy Spirit urges me to remind my readers of key biblical principles. I often question with a whisper, “are you sure you want me to address this again?” While you may be aware of certain biblical truths, using a new context or illustration often drives home this point in a more powerful way. This is the purpose of 1 John 3:16: serving as a clear reminder of John 3:16-17 so that another generation of Christians will understand the unconditional love of God.

by Jay Mankus

God’s Permanent Presence

Before society was concerned about being cancelled or virtue signaling to the woke community, even non-believers talked about God’s permanent presence. In 1990, Bette Midler sang that From a Distance, God is watching us. If this is true, the words of one Old Testament prophet became a reality in the first century, roughly 2000 years ago, Isaiah 7:14.

But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [[o]permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being [p]rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do], 1 John 2:27.

One of the Jewish traditions that Isaiah was raised to follow was the unction. This is the act of anointing someone with oil or ointment as a religious rite. However, on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, followers of Jesus were anointed by the Holy Spirit. During a conversation with his disciples in John 16, Jesus promised to send a Holy Ghost, an invisible counselor to guide believers following his ascension.

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [[d]full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

The greatest advocate of God’s permanent presence is a member of Jesus’ inner circle. According to Peter, the Holy Spirit gives Christians everything that we need for life. The apostle Paul compares the Holy Spirit to a force that you can walk with, Galatians 5:25. Yet, the Holy Spirit is only available to those who believe in Jesus, Acts 2:28. Therefore, if you want to sense God’s permanent presence daily, call upon the name of the Lord, Romans 10:9-11.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 81: Welcome to the Jesus Movement

It’s not very often that Junior High School aspirations become a reality. Yet, for the Christian blues-rock group Three Crosses, this is exactly what happened. Lifelong friends from New Jersey, Steve Pasch and Ralphie Barrientos formed Three Crosses in 1995. When my wife Leanne was a youth director in Chicago, we took the youth group to see Three Crosses during one of their tours.

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth, Acts 1:8.

Three Crosses is best known for their moving worship songs. Yet, Welcome to the Jesus Movement is one of those tunes that provides a great song with solid lyrics. When you add songs like The Stone Was Rolled Away, Christians can prepare their minds to celebrate a resurrected Lord. If you ever want to uplift your soul, play the first two Three Crosses albums and the Holy Spirit will stir and touch your heart.

by Jay Mankus

Purpose, Thought and Action

There is a theme that one of Jesus’ disciples weaves through a few of his first century letters. The first reference of purpose, thought, and action appears in the passage below. A similar statement is made at the beginning of 1 John 2. The point that John is attempting to make is that confirming to God’s will requires a 3 part process: purpose, thoughts, and actions. This reveals your true allegiance.

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action], 1 John 1:9.

Purpose is the reason for which something is created or done. From my own personal experiences, having purpose is similar to vision. If you know what you want to do and where you want to go, purpose serves as a compass to guide and direct your life. However, when you lack knowledge, purpose, and vision, you’ll go through life aimlessly, without a clear sense of direction, Hosea 4:6.

My little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God’s law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father—[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father’s will in every purpose, thought, and action], 1 John 2:1.

Thought and actions tend to go hand in hand. When a thought is conceived within your mind, you’ll like act upon this sooner or later, James 1:14-15. Those who develop a purpose drive life as described in Rick Warren’s book, thoughts and actions will follow. However, the key is not simply listening to the Bible. The ultimate goal is to become doers of God’s Word, Matthew 7:24. Jesus gives Christians a purpose, the Bible plants thoughts into our minds and the Holy Spirit prompts believers to take action, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

The Kind of Person You Ought to Be

Six months after graduating college, I attended a Youth Ministry Trade School in Minnesota. These 7 weeks completely changed my life; encouraging me to stretch and expand my comfort zone. One of the techniques that I learned was setting goals from a Could Be/Should Be perspective. From a spiritual standpoint, I learned to take an inventory of where I am currently and where I need to be. While writing a first century letter, Peter challenges his listeners to consider the person that you ought to be in Christ.

Since all these things are thus [b]in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities, 12 While you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [[c]material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire? – 2 Peter 3:11-12

The origin of the term Christian dates back to sometime between 30 and 40 A.D. Citizens in the city of Antioch were impressed by members of their local church. Something was different about these people, a specific quality that set them apart from everyone else in town. As these followers of Jesus began to share their faith with the locals, one person put two and two together. “These people must be Christians, followers of Christ Jesus.

Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a [a]slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance, Ephesians 5:1-2.

As this expression spread, the apostle Paul provided other churches with a simple spiritual goal to shoot for daily. As people of faith become imitators of Jesus, the fruits of the Spirit take precedence over the acts of your flesh, Galatians 5:1625. As hearts and minds become renewed by the Bible, Romans 12:1-2, the Holy Spirit steers you toward the person you ought to be in Christ. Prayer, reflection, and worship provide spiritual disciplines to keep your mind on becoming Jesus to your local community.

by Jay Mankus

A Touch of Faith

While seeing is believing, feeling Jesus’ hand where a nail once held him to a cross resulted in a touch of faith for Thomas, John 20:27-28. Jesus uses this moment to express how blessed those individuals who have never seen Jesus, but still believe. The authors of the four gospels share their own encounters, personal experiences, and recollections of Jesus. Some of these accounts may stir your heart that produces a touch of faith.

[We are writing] about the Word of Life [[a]in] Him Who existed from the beginning, Whom we have heard, Whom we have seen with our [own] eyes, Whom we have gazed upon [for ourselves] and have touched with our [own] hands, 1 John 1:1.

The touch move rule in chess is the most basic rule when competing in any tournament. If a player deliberately touches one a piece on the board when it is their turn to move, they must move or capture that touched piece if it is legal to do so. From a spiritual standpoint, when you reach out to touch a person or thing, your senses confirm that this object is real. Meanwhile, when your heart is touched by God, the Holy Spirit prompts you to act.

Until the day when He ascended, after He through the Holy Spirit had instructed and commanded the apostles (special messengers) whom He had chosen. To them also He showed Himself alive after His passion (His suffering in the garden and on the cross) by [a series of] many convincing demonstrations [unquestionable evidences and infallible proofs], appearing to them during forty days and talking [to them] about the things of the kingdom of God, Acts 1:2-3.

According to the four gospels and the Book of Acts, following Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to and interacted with over 500 people. Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-6, followers of Jesus were in awe of God’s power to raise a human being from the dead. The Great Commission served as a blue print for the first century Church, Acts 1:8. Yet, when a doubting Thomas felt the scar in Jesus’ palm, this touch of faith is all that he needed to transform his life.

by Jay Mankus

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