RSS Feed

Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

When the Spirit of the Anti-Christ Comes

During the Passion Week, Jesus’ last week on earth prior to his crucifixion, a series of clues are left behind in Matthew 24. The context of this conversation begins on the steps of the temple. Jesus uses this structure to foretell future events beginning with the great earthquake immediately following his death on a cross. After taking a seat on the Mount of Olives, Jesus privately meets with his disciples, revealing the signs of End Times.

Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition), 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3.

The content of this information was so powerful that Matthew devotes an entire chapter of his gospel to these words. According to Jesus, a series of events will result in the love of many Christians growing cold, Matthew 24:12. If you place this passage in the context of 2020 with church services shut down during the Coronavirus pandemic in many states, the Spirit of the Anti-Christ is getting closer. The apostle Paul takes at closer look by examining what these days will resemble on earth.

Who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God. Do you not recollect that when I was still with you, I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time. For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way, 2 Thessalonians 2:4-7.

In his second letter to the Church at Thessalonica, Paul shares his own revelations about the second coming of Jesus. This includes an interesting statement that presupposes that the Holy Spirit keeps Satan on a leash until Christ returns. However, after the Rapture, Satan will turn the earth into a concentration camp, Revelation 13:17. Only those who receive the mark of the beast will be able to buy or sell. Thus, as Spirit of the Anti-Christ draws near, prepare your heart and mind now so that you won’t be deceived.

by Jay Mankus

Satan’s Pawn Shop

The reality television show Pawn Stars debuted on July 19th, 2009. Hosted by The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, a cast of characters and unique items have entertained Americans for more than a decade. Like a modern version of the Antique Roadshow, owner Rick Harrison discovers hidden treasures every episode. Yet, this popular show conceals the grim definition of pawn, “holding something hostage.”

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot, Romans 8:5-7.

When you adopt and apply the term pawn to the spiritual dimension, Satan’s Pawn Shop includes human bodies held captive by sin. The apostle Paul compares this to a mindset focused on your carnal desires or the Holy Spirit. Natural inclinations lean toward gratifying your own fleshly desires. In the previous chapter, Paul details his own failures to keep his body in check, often doing the opposite of what he wanted to do, Romans 7:17-20.

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, 20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

Despite this dire condition, Paul reveals who came to the rescue, paying the price for those held hostage by Satan. This ransom was purchased when Jesus laid down his own life on a cross, 1 Timothy 2:6. While some may try to intervene on God’s behalf, Jesus is the only one who can redeem lives seized by Satan. As the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, the enemy is watching, eager to pounce upon weak and vulnerable souls. This is a typical day inside of Satan’s Pawn Shop highlighted by 1 Peter 5:8-9.

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

Risking Failure or Keeping It a Dream?

The etymology of the word dream has ties to an Anglo-Saxon word. Draugmas are illusions, deceptions in the mind linked to joy, merriment or music. Some dreams appear to be so realistic that when you wake up, you’re unsure if this actual happened or not. Action oriented individuals prefer living life the hard way, through a series of trials and errors. Others choose to live their life in a bubble, free from taking risks. Dreamers come alive when they go to sleep, reveling in a world of imagination.

For a dream comes with much business and painful effort, and a fool’s voice with many words. When you vow a vow or make a pledge to God, do not put off paying it; for God has no pleasure in fools (those who witlessly mock Him). Pay what you vow, Ecclesiastes 5:3-4.

According to King Solomon, dreams occur following a busy day. Depending upon your thoughts, dreams can be inspirational, urging you to act. Thus, Solomon suggests that a dream may prompt you to make a commitment. However, instead of getting sentimental, make a decision quickly. Either pledge to do something or not. Consider the costs of living to a higher standard and act quickly. Unfortunately, dreamers often play if safe, waiting for further confirmation or another dream to respond.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy [telling forth the divine counsels] and your young men shall see visions (divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams, Acts 2:17.

A disciple of Jesus eludes to a different kind of dream, Acts 2:17. Either Jesus had a private conversation with Peter or the Holy Spirit gave him a glimpse of the future. Just as the Day of Pentecost brought an outpouring of God’s Spirit, a similar movement will occur prior to Jesus’ second coming. In the last days, dreams will serve as a warning to future events. Unless you’re willing to share what God has revealed to you, you’re not helping anyone. Although you may face ridicule or skepticism, dreams are meant to be shared. However, it’s up to you if you risk failure or keep it to yourself.

by Jay Mankus

A Wind From Elsewhere

Residents of southern California have dealt with smog for more than 50 years. When a new kindergarten teacher moved to Los Angeles in 1953, there were no San Gabriel Mountains that Lee Begovich could see according to a 2019 Washington Post article. Choked with low visibility, Begovich referred to conditions in Los Angeles as eye-burning, lung-stinging, and headache-inducing smog. A commission appointed to address smog back in the 1970’s came to the conclusion that their only short term solution was dependent upon mother nature. The hope was that a wind from elsewhere would drive this smog into the Pacific Ocean.

What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not [do not be surprised, astonished] at My telling you, You must all be born anew (from above), John 3:6-7.

The passage above dates back to a first century conversion between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Afraid of what his peers might think, Nicodemus meets Jesus under the cover of darkness at night. The concept of a Holy Ghost intrigued Nick, wanting to know more on this topic. Whether trying to be sarcastic or simply attempting the break the ice, Nick makes fun of becoming born again. The context above is Jesus’ reply, eluding to a wind from above that has the power to transform your life. Despite being a well educated religious leader, Nick was unable to fathom this concept. Nick’s uncertainty sets the stage for John 3:16-17.

The wind blows (breathes) where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered by asking, How can all this be possible? – John 3:8-9

Unless you see a rain cloud unleash water in the distance or witness a tornado defined by it’s debris path, wind is invisible. While you can feel a cold breeze or be blown off your feet by down drafts and wind gusts, the wind is unpredictable. Sure. modern day radar and technology can trace the movements of weather systems, the wind blows where it wills. According the Jesus, the Holy Spirit is just as mysterious. In a letter to the church in Galatia, the Holy Spirit is described as a force that you can stay in tune with, Galatians 5:25. However, if anyone is distracted by fleshly desires, spiritual senses can be lost. Perhaps, this is why Jesus introduces John 3:16 to provide the lost with a glimmer of hope.

by Jay Mankus

Living and Moving in the Ways of the Spirit

Every year or so I come in contact with an individual who possesses a dynamic personality. On the surface, these people seem perfect, blessed with keen social skills and filled with a joy for life. Curious and eager to know what makes them tick, I often ask a few probing questions. After a couple of minutes interacting, many of these individuals are at a higher spiritual level, living and moving in the ways of the Spirit daily.

So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit], Romans 8:4.

My Catholic upbringing limited my knowledge of the Holy Spirit throughout my teenage years. However, college was a different story, encountering several uncomfortable scenarios. I witnessed people slain in the spirit, speaking in tongues, holy laughter, a pastor who prayed in rhymes and one church that practiced casting out demons. Unfortunately, none of these churches ever explained how I could life and move in the ways of the Spirit.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit, Romans 8:5.

All I have is the teaching of the apostle Paul to help me comprehend this concept. First, Paul stresses the importance of your mind, focusing on eternal treasures; not temporary pleasures. Second, once you develop the proper mindset, Paul uses the expression “governed by the Spirit.” Just as Joshua urged Israel to meditate on God’s Word day and night, a biblical mindset is crucial to keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. However, until you crucify your own sinful passions, you won’t be able to live and more like Jesus during his 3 year ministry on earth.

by Jay Mankus

A Rhema or Not?

My initial encounter with the Guinness Book of World Records occurred during an episode of the Brady Bunch. As a means of feeling important, Bobby and Cindy set out to break the world record for swinging on a swing set. According to the show, the record at the time of the original broadcast was 3 days. By midnight, these two energetic kids fell asleep, escorted off to bed by their parents. Despite their failure, Bobby and Cindy made the local paper the following day.

For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure, John 3:34.

When I became a teenager, I went through a Ripley’s Believe or Not phase after visiting a museum down the beach. Instead of breaking a world record, Ripley’s concentrated on strange and unusual feats, similar to a circus freak show. Walking through the exhibits was fascinating, prompting me to discover or realize what special talent God had given to me. While attending a two day seminar on Discernment, the Holy Spirit shined light on my ability to receive rhemas from God.

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 1 Peter 1:23.

Instead of believe it or not, I began to daily ponder, “is this a rhema from God or not?” This mindset gave birth to Express Yourself 4 Him a week later as I reflected upon whispers from God’s still small voice. The term rhema is Greek which translates into English as utterance or thing said. While logos refers to the Word of God, the Bible, a rhema is received when individuals stumble upon a spiritual idea, nugget or truth. The only reason I continue to blog is by grace through faith I am blessed to receive several rhemas each week. The more I read the Bible, rhemas flow as this ancient book comes to life, Hebrews 4:12. May this promise come alive as you too read and study the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

The Cleansing

A decade old health poll revealed that 31% of Americans do not shower every day.  The same study showed 65% bath and or shower daily with 4% showering more than once a day.  Other cultures such as Europe find it socially acceptable to shower 3 to 4 times a week.  The purpose of cleansing is to disinfect, freshen up and sanitize human bodies.  The cooler than climate, the less this may be needed.  However, depending upon your degree of perspiration, you may need to shower twice a day to avoid offending your family with a fowl body odor.

And God, who knows and understands the heart, testified to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; Acts 15:8.

The Bible refers to a spiritual cleansing.  This isn’t accomplished by taking a private bath or shower.  Rather, churches perform baptisms which demonstrate a public expression of an inner faith.  According to the apostle Paul, God cleanses souls through the power of the Holy Spirit.  After someone accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, Romans 10:9-10, first century Christians immediately participated in outdoor baptism ceremonies along a nearby body of water.  Despite having clothes on at this time, Luke describes this process as hearts beings cleansed by faith.

And He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith [in Jesus], Acts 15:9.

The symbolism of baptism is God’s way of giving human beings a clean slate, a spiritual do over where souls set out on a life long journey as a new creation in Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, the sinful nature inside of us, referred to as the flesh by Paul makes it impossible to be perfect.  In a letter to the church at Rome, Paul states on several occasions “there is no one righteous, not even one,” Romans 3. Thus, after experiencing a believer’s baptism, confession, prayer and fasting serve as means to receive another spiritual cleansing.  May these spiritual disciplines become a daily habit to cleanse your heart by faith.

by Jay Mankus

The Day Christians Didn’t Want Church to End

From the age of 6 to 16, my parents started to vacation in the state of Maine.  After renting a small cottage on Thompson Lake for a few years, a retired couple invited my family to stay in their A-Frame and Lodge.  Subsequently, Maine became like a second home, spending several weeks there each August.  While my birthday parties were small, I went fishing, golfing or running every day.  Eventually, my parents found a church in Oxford, about a fifteen minute drive.  To my pleasant surprise, this church ran like a clock, ending in 39 minutes every Sunday.  As a teenager eager to fish or play golf, this priest kept my attention, always short and sweet.

When the congregation of the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and the devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, talking to them were urging them to continue in the grace of God, Acts 13:43.

During one of their missionary journeys, Paul and Barnabas experienced the exact opposite reaction.  While preaching to a crowded synagogue in the region of Antioch in Pisidia, the audience in attendance did not work this service to end.  After being dismissed, several Jews and converts to Judaism begged Paul and Barnabas to keep teaching.  These souls were spiritually hungry, eager to learn more about the grace of God.  This desire reminds me of a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus reveals two key priorities.

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also, Matthew 6:33.

Spiritual hunger isn’t natural, but when individuals take time to pray, read the Bible or worship God, the Holy Spirit alters human priorities toward spiritual desires.  Although I can’t recall ever wanting a church service to keep going, there are other moments in time that I didn’t want to end.  Spiritual retreats, certain vacations and my Tentmaker Leadership Training were so life altering that I wanted to stay.  Anytime you have to go back to reality is hard, especially if you are not happy with where you are in life.  Nonetheless, when you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you may find yourself like the service in Acts 13:43, not wanting church to end.

by Jay Mankus

All Those Who Were Listening

While Billy Joel refers to honesty as such a lonely word in his 1979 song, teachers often feel the same way about listening.  As a former high school teacher who spent a decade standing in front of teenagers, rarely did I grab the attention of an entire class.  This became apparent during each chapter review prior to the next text as only a handful of students were prepared.  At some point during my lectures, these informed students were attentive, able to concentrate or kept an open ear to what I was presenting.  While uniformed students may cram their way toward a good grade, all those who are consistently listening receive blessings from God.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who were listening to the message [confirming God’s acceptance of Gentiles]. 45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, Acts 10:44-45.

While interviewing Peter about an encounter with Gentiles, Luke narrows in on the power of listening.  Based upon Peter’s recollection of this day, not everyone in the audience was listening to his sermon.  This became obvious when those talking in the back or whispering on the side did not receive an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Whether the words above are a direct quote from Peter or an observation made by Luke the author, “the Holy Spirit only fell on those who were listening.”  While not mentioned, the rest of the crowd sat around dumbfounded, likely disappointed that they missed this blessing from God.

For all the prophets and the Law prophesied up until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is [the fulfillment of] Elijah [as the messenger] who was to come [before the kingdom]. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words, Matthew 11:13-15.

When John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod, a delegation of John’s disciples was sent to Jesus to make sense of his earthly ministry.  John’s disciples wanted to know if Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah.  Thus, as these men approached Jesus, they hung on every spoken word.  Following a tribute to John the Baptist, Jesus ends his comments with a plea to listen.  Based upon the quote above, there are two types of listening: casual and responsive.  Jesus doesn’t want people to nod in agreement.  Rather, God desires followers of Christ to become doers of the Word by putting Jesus’ advice into action.  Blessings will bestowed upon all those who are attentively listening.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: