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Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

When Ungodly Beliefs Hinder Your Ability to Love

I was introduced to the concept of ungodly beliefs while reading the book Restoring the Foundations. Authors Betsy and Chester Kylstra claim ungodly beliefs can gain access to individuals through painful experiences. These lies that people come to believe arrive unexpectedly through hurtful and traumatic events. As minds begin to seek answers to why this or that occurred in your life, a strong emotional pull opens a door into your soul. Fueled by doubt and uncertainty, thoughts such as “God doesn’t care about me, I’m not good enough, or I’ll never amount to anything” hinders one’s ability to love.

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth? This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church], Galatians 5:7-9.

In the passage above, one of the churches the apostle Paul helped start began to struggle with their own ungodly beliefs. Influenced by a religious sect who added circumcision as a requirement to be saved, a spiritual elitism entered the Galatian church. This mentality became so prevalent that Barnabas and Peter began to withdraw from Gentiles Christians, believing that a close association with Gentiles would make them unclean. This unwillingness to let go of Jewish customs, regulations, and traditions inhibited their ability to love their love as themselves.

But, brethren, if I still preach circumcision [as some accuse me of doing, as necessary to salvation], why am I still suffering persecution? In that case the cross has ceased to be a stumbling block and is made meaningless (done away). 12 I wish those who unsettle and confuse you would [go all the way and] cut themselves off! 13 For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another, Galatians 5:11-13.

This is the context as Paul introduces acts of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-24. Depending upon what you allow yourself to believe will dictate the actions that you will take. You can either listen to God’s voice by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit or indulge your earthly desires. Ungodly beliefs are theories you pick up over time from parents, peers, and other spheres of influences. When these beliefs contradict the Bible, payback and revenge will replace love. If this blog finds you in a bad mood, struggling to be nice, explore Restoring the Foundations so that healing will enable you to love your neighbor as yourself.

by Jay Mankus

Obstacles that Block the Power of the Holy Spirit from Shining Through You

The phrase “old self” appears 91 times in the Bible. Meanwhile, taking off the old self occurs 22 times in the New Testament. The “old self” refers to your unregenerate life prior to entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Colossians 3:5-9. In a letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul calls members of this congregation to put to death their old self. Experiencing the abundant life in Christ, John 10:10, is not possible until previous attitudes, behaviors, and mindsets have been transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), Galatians 5:19-20.

Unfortunately, the desires of the flesh are opposed to the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:17. These earthly desires create a spiritual barrier that blocks, hinders, and stunts spiritual growth. Similar to Jesus’ analogy of light and darkness in Matthew 6:19-23, if the darkness of your past still lurks and resides within you, how great is this darkness? Revelation 3:15-16 refers to these type of Christians as lukewarm, cooled by an unwillingness to let go of your old self. Symptoms of this condition are listed above and below. If any of these character flaws rise to the surface, it’s time to put to death your old self.

Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:21.

According to the apostle Paul, the only way to break free from addiction, bad habits, and earthly cravings is by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Until you yield complete control over to God, sinful desires will continue to ravage your soul. A new life in Christ isn’t meant to be discarded after your love for Jesus fades away. Rather, the author of Hebrews refers to this spiritual journey as a marathon, Hebrews 12:1-3, with members from heaven watching and urging you to keep going. Like any race, you may have to stop and walk for a while, but with the Holy Spirit at your back, change is possible if you believe and persevere.

by Jay Mankus

Joy is a Choice

The book definition of joy is a feeling of great pleasure that results in happiness. Meanwhile, rejoice refers to expressing great delight that is inspired by this source of joy. When internal joy is expressed in an external manner, individuals experience elation, gratification, and jubilation. Like momentum in a sporting event, the presence of joy can transform lives. brimming and bubbling over with a new found confidence.

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing, James 1:2-4.

In a letter first century to Christians scattered throughout the world due to religious persecution, the earthly brother of Jesus suggests that joy is a choice. Based upon the passage above, joy is a mindset that you maintain regardless of the circumstances. Whether you encounter hardships, trials or temptation, joy is a byproduct of faith. As Christians mature over time, the spiritual fruit of joy is conceived in your life.

Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); 17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will], 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Unfortunately, joy is a rare quality in a world filled with anxiety, sadness, and worry. Instead of exuding joy, negative atmospheres and climates overwhelm troubled souls. Thus, misery tends to drown out any glimpses of hope. When joy is absent, the apostle Paul urges believers to rely on prayer to alter your mood. Therefore, if joy is a choice, make sure that the Holy Spirit provides the spark needed to keep this spiritual fruit alive.

by Jay Mankus

Anticipating and Waiting for the Blessing

Growing pains are often described as an ache or throbbing sensation in the legs. As teenagers start to experience major growth spurts, this pain is often felt in the front of thighs, calves or behind the knees. The apostle Paul refers to the concept of spiritual growing pains in one of his letters. After Paul departed the Church at Galatia, continuing on one of his missionary journeys, several members of this church were led astray by a Jewish sect known as the Judaizers. This is the context of Paul’s advice below.

For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope, Galatians 5:5.

While the Old Testament serves as a modern day guide for living a moral life, this is not how you get in right standing with God. Rather, Jesus left behind the Holy Spirit as a counselor to help overcome spiritual growing pains. Instead of holding on to religious traditions, Paul wants Christians to rely on faith as you anticipate and wait for your life to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps referencing Deuteronomy 28:1-3, faith is what keeps you going until blessings arrive in the form of spiritual fruits, Galatians 5:22-23.

Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will], 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18.

Meanwhile, a letter to the Church at Thessalonica suggests that Paul wants believers to concentrate on the will of God. Developing a prayerful mindset is a crucial step toward receiving the clarity needed to understand what God’s will is for your life. If you put these two passages together, the anticipation and waiting may refer to the realization of God’s will. Since this usually takes years to be unveiled, blessings from God start with a small trickle and will rain down once individuals find their place in this world by living out their faith.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Extinguish Eternal Fire

During a visit to a prison in 1868, poet William J. Reynolds was inspired to write a hymn. Using the image of a camp fire, Reynolds opening stanza starts with the following words. “It only takes a spark to keep a fire going. And soon all those around will warm up to it’s glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love; once you’ve experienced it. You spread His love to everyone; you want to pass it on.” When the Holy Spirit fills newly devoted followers of Christ, faith becomes contagious like the classic song Pass It On.

And we earnestly beseech you, brethren, admonish (warn and seriously advise) those who are out of line [the loafers, the disorderly, and the unruly]; encourage the timid and fainthearted, help and give your support to the weak souls, [and] be very patient with everybody [always keeping your temper]. 15 See that none of you repays another with evil for evil, but always aim to show kindness and seek to do good to one another and to everybody, 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15.

Unfortunately, rumors of apathy and complacency began to plague the Church at Thessalonica. Instead of passing on God’s love, first century Christians started pouring cold water on the spiritually optimistic. As a former Roman Catholic who was forced to attend mass every Sunday, I know what’s like not to want to be in church. While in college, I first encountered charismatic Christians, eager and passionate about worshiping God every week. Looking back, I was lukewarm, prematurely judging these on fire believers.

Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); 17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 19 Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19.

Based upon the passage above, apparently some Thessalonians were suppressing the joy of other first century Christians. Perhaps, envy played a part in this behavior. When someone has a passion that is missing from your own life, defense mechanisms often trigger crude and unusual reactions. If you finding yourself lashing due to jealousy, you should consider Paul’s advice. Faith shouldn’t be regulated by your emotions. Rather, worship should consume your soul daily, thirsty for God’s Word which serves as fuel for eternal fire.

by Jay Mankus

Feeding a Hunger for God

Hunger and satiety are sensations that exist within human bodies. Hunger pains are caused by strong contractions of the stomach when it’s empty. Satiety is the absence of hunger; the sensation within you that makes you feel full after eating a big meal. While the most common New Year’s resolution annually is losing weight, developing a hunger for God doesn’t crack the top 10 on this 2020 list. Perhaps, if spiritual hungers increased, desires for physical food might level off in 2021.

Then Jesus was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil. And He went without food for forty days and forty nights, and later He was hungry, Matthew 4:1-2.

Prior to beginning his earthly ministry, the Holy Spirit led Jesus to begin a 40 day fast. Instead of maintaining a normal work week as a carpenter, Jesus withdrew into the wilderness for more than a month. To avoid the temptation of watching others eat food, Jesus invested this time into feeding his hunger for God. Although Matthew provides a brief summary of this fast, the only thing Jesus consumed was water during this time in the desert. As the end drew near, Jesus’ brain triggered the release of a hormone called Ghrelin in response to his empty stomach. This sets the stage for the Devil’s arrival on the scene.

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, Matthew 4:3-4.

Sensing his weak physical state, the Devil dares Jesus to turn stones into freshly made bread. As a former archangel, Lucifer was aware of God’s almighty power. However, Jesus quickly changes the topic, reflecting upon the words of the Old Testament. Spiritual hunger comes from meditating and reflecting upon biblical promises, Joshua 1:8. When Christians decide to fast, normal meal times are replaced with Bible Study, prayer and worship. Therefore, if you want to lose weight in 2021, feed your spiritual hunger for God by fasting. Come up with a realistic amount of hours or days and let the Holy Spirit guide you, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

Where is God’s Spirit this Christmas Season?

According to ancient tradition, the Spirit of God hovered over the earth prior to the commencement of creation. This information was passed down from generation to generation orally before Moses was called by God to write the first 5 books of the Old Testament. Throughout the early years, God’s presence drifted from one place to another, causing many to wonder, “where is God’s Spirit in the world today?”

The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters, Genesis 1:2.

Moses compares God’s Spirit to an accompany of blessings, Deuteronomy 28:1-2. The prophet Samuel refers to a special anointing given to David which led him to become King of Israel. From a New Testament point of view, the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-6 ushered in the Holy Spirit to become a greater presence in the lives of human beings. Recognizing Pentecost as a once in a world event, the apostle Paul compares God’s Spirit to a force like momentum which you can follow, Galatians 5:25.

I form the light and create darkness, I make peace [national well-being] and I create [physical] evil (calamity); I am the Lord, Who does all these things, Isaiah 45:7.

In the passage above, another Old Testament prophet claims God’s Spirit allows good and evil to occur. Instead of forcing obedience like a militant leader, God created freewill so that God’s Spirit is only a door away, Revelation 3:20. While false doctrines, prophets and teachings continue to confuse many today, bread crumbs have been left behind in the form of a book, Romans 10:17. The more you open the Bible, Psalm 119:105, the presence of God’s Spirit comes into focus as a light in the darkness of 2020.

by Jay Mankus

A P.O.W.

The earliest recorded usage of “prisoner of war” dates back to 1610. Belligerents held prisoners of war in custody, often isolating them from enemy combatants still in the field. In primitive times, the captured were considered the personal property of the captor and were forced into slave labor. However, these practices continued during the Vietnam War as officers were taken and held in remote locations.

The crowd [also] joined in the attack upon them, and the rulers tore the clothes off of them and commanded that they be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. 24 He, having received [so strict a] charge, put them into the inner prison (the dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks, Acts 16:22-24.

During a visit to Philippi, the apostle Paul finds himself behind bars. However, Paul isn’t escorted to the dungeon as a prisoner of war. Rather, Paul casts a demon out of a fortune teller whose owners realized that their cash cow was now gone. Instead of becoming bitter for this religious persecution, Paul turns to the Holy Spirit to become a Person of Worship. At midnight, Paul and Silas start singing hymns that triggers an earthquake.

But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them, 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s shackles were unfastened. 27 When the jailer, startled out of his sleep, saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was on the point of killing himself, because he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, Do not harm yourself, for we are all here! – Acts 16:25-28

Afraid that prisoners were going to escape, the head jailer was about to take his own life. This would have been his fate if just one of the inmates under his control escaped. Yet, before falling on his sword, Paul cries out to inform the jailer that everyone is here and there are no plans to flee. Perhaps, the worship service awoke Paul’s spiritual senses, using this unique opportunity to lead the jailer and family to faith in Christ. This is what can happen when a person becomes a Person of Worship.

by Jay Mankus

The Secret to Satisfaction

The Rolling Stones first sang about the inability to find satisfaction in their 1965 hit (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. When one’s expectations, needs, or wishes go unfulfilled, an uneasy feeling begins to consume souls. As individuals begin to compare their lives with successful people, focuses shift from what you have to what you don’t. Thus, the invisible and unseen blessings that could lead to satisfaction are often ignored, resulting in a troubled heart.

I was made very happy in the Lord that now you have revived your interest in my welfare after so long a time; you were indeed thinking of me, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am, Philippians 4:10-11.

Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul finds himself in chains, behind bars for a crime that he didn’t commit. Instead of allowing bitterness to overwhelm his heart, writing a letter to the Church at Philippi appears to have brought a sense peace to Paul, Philippians 4:7. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to encourage these first century saints to focus on the positive aspects in life, Philippians 4:8. In the passages that follow, Paul reveals the secret to finding satisfaction.

I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. 13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency], Philippians 4:12-13.

This secret includes 3 key principles. The first is remembering God’s purpose for your life, Jeremiah 29:11. The second piece of advice is relying on God’s Spirit within you to make a change for the better, Philippians 4:13. Finally, if you want to find satisfaction, redeem God’s promises for your future, Philippians 1:9-10. Whatever formula that may be out there, nothing is guaranteed in this life. Thus, until you begin to put Jesus’ words into action, Matthew 7:24, satisfaction is just another word.

by Jay Mankus

The End of Boy Scouts?

Former Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts Organization in 1908. Powell’s objective was to develop citizenship, chivalrous behavior, and skill in outdoor activities for boys aged 11-14. As this movement grew in popularity, several active youth organizations joined the Boy Scouts of America. After being successful for more than a century, the Boy Scouts Organization voted to allow gay scout leaders in 2013. This decision caused the Boy Scouts of America to file for bankruptcy on February 18th, 2020. Facing a wave of lawsuits over sexual abuse allegations, it appears we’re about to see the end of boy scouts.

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes, Judges 21:25.

Hollywood put their own spin on the decay of morality in America with The Last Boy Scout in 1991. An ex-Secret Service agent played by Bruce Willis holds on to his marriage despite his wife’s affair. Meanwhile, Joe Hellenbeck’s work as a private eye allows him to cross paths with Damon Wayans, an ex-quarterback on a case of sports gambling and murder. After nearly getting blown up, this unlikely duo team up to solve this case. The deeper they dig, corruption leads straight to the mob. While Willis’ character has nothing in common with boy scouts, his character presses on no matter how dangerous their investigation becomes.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live], Ephesians 2:10.

If you take some time to listen, you may be shocked by the words that you hear. If you’re not astonished, it’s probably because you have become desensitized by the world around you. The enveloped has been pushed so far by cable television, public education, and social media that character, integrity and morals are disappearing from our society. This has led many to lose hope and subsequently cave in to peer pressure. Devilish thoughts like “if everyone is doing it, why aren’t you” enter many minds. Perhaps, this mindset led Judges in the Old Testament to do what’s right in their own eye. Instead of falling into this spiritual trap, think about what God has predestined for you to do. Although sin will keep us from being model scouts, the Holy Spirit will help you to do what’s right when nobody is looking. Whether the Boy Scout survive or not, God can strengthen the weak to live like a shining star in a fallen world, Philippians 2:15-16.

by Jay Mankus

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