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Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

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

The Parable of 3 Umpires

Despite the strike zone box displayed on modern television broadcasts, each Major League Baseball umpire has their own unique interpretation of what is a strike. There are 3 main theories when it comes to calling balls and strikes. Some follow the standard “I call it as I see it.” Others are more precise, waiting a brief moment before making a decision, often irritating players on the field and coaches in the dugout. Younger umps tend to follow a post modernism perspective where the truth of their strike zone is relative.

But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future], John 16:13.

Every year coaches and manages of baseball teams around the country argue with umpires about their strike zone. Some of these adults may receive a warning while others will be thrown out after losing control of their emotions. Whether you agree with a particular umpire or not, Jesus refers to a higher power that will help individuals locate the truth. The Holy Spirit was introduced by Jesus as a spiritual counselor that will guide you toward the truth. God’s Spirit was designed to help you overcome the bad breaks and blown calls that go against you in life.

Pilate said to Him, What is Truth? On saying this he went out to the Jews again and told them, I find no fault in Him, John 18:38.

Just before Jesus is handed over to be crucified, a first century governor wants to know what truth is. Following a series of questions. Pilate found no fault in Jesus. Despite his position of power, the religious leaders turned the crowd against Jesus as Barabbas was released and Jesus was put to death in his place. From an umpire’s perspective, Jesus was safe. Yet, God’s will was for Jesus was to seek to save that which was lost, Luke 19:10. This blown call by the Chief Priest and elders was all part of God’s plan, John 3:16-17. Balls and strikes don’t matter as long as you see the big picture, Romans 5:8.

by Jay Mankus

Act as An Umpire to Regain Control

The expression umpire is found 5 times in the Bible. One is used by Job in the Old Testament; the other 4 are found in the New Testament. The apostle Paul uses umpire in back to back chapters in Colossians. The first references an individual who abuses their power like a modern day Major League Baseball ump on a power trip seeking to throw out as many players and managers as possible.

Let no one defraud you by acting as an umpire and declaring you unworthy and disqualifying you for the prize, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions [he claims] he has seen, vainly puffed up by his sensuous notions and inflated by his unspiritual thoughts and fleshly conceit, Colossians 2:18.

Less than a chapter later, Paul compares an umpire to a first century official at a Track and Field competition. In the off years of the original Greek Olympics, the Corinthian Games gave world class athletes a chance to compete. The context of the passage below refers to someone who maintains control by properly officiating each event. Any judgment call that is made must be backed up by a clear understanding to settle any disputes from a competitor.

And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always], Colossians 3:15.

According to the apostle Paul, the ideal umpire is one that allows the peace of Christ to rule in their hearts. When souls are in perfect harmony with the Holy Spirit, Christians will be able to maintain control in a world that tends to spin out of control. When believers think of and see the big picture of the body of Christ, you can stabilize any circumstances and situations that you encounter. Therefore, the next time tempers begin to flare, act as an umpire to regain control of a highly contested situation.

by Jay Mankus

Stimulating Your Spiritual Senses

Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment star in the 1999 film the Sixth Sense. Willis plays a child psychologist who encounters Osment, a young boy with an unique gift. This Sixth Sense remains hidden within Cole until Dr. Malcolm Crowe earns his trust. Following a series of sessions, Cole takes a risk to reveal “I see dead people.” Whenever an usual gift or talent is uncovered, it takes time to figure out how to apply this in a practical way.

Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], 22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines, Colossians 1:21-22.

Throughout the New Testament, the apostle Paul leaves a series of bread crumbs for Christians to stimulate their spiritual senses. However, there are several obstacles that one must overcome before you can begin to scratch the surface of your potential in Christ, Philippians 4:13. Cravings and desires wage war against human souls, 1 Peter 2:11. When minds begin to drift toward temporary pleasures, Romans 8:5-9, there is no room for the Spirit to operate.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. 25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit,] Galatians 5:24-25.

As individuals struggle with this internal tug of war, Galatians 5:16-18, spiritual gifts lay dormant, invisible to human eyes. However, as Christians walk by faith and not by sight, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit becomes achievable. This daily exercise heightens one’s spiritual senses that lie within a transformed heart, Psalm 51:10. After attending a 2 day Discernment Conference, my spiritual senses were awakened. Although I deviate from God’s Word from time to time, keeping in Step with God’s Spirit has been the secret to my success for stimulating my spiritual senses.

by Jay Mankus

Things Seen and Unseen

The expression “doubting Thomas” comes from an encounter between Jesus and one of his disciples following his resurrection. Despite having a conversation with Jesus, Thomas wanted more proof, John 20:27. Thomas wanted to see and feel the scars, the holes in Jesus’ hand where He was hung from a cross. In John 20:29, Jesus refers to future Christians who believe without seeing. These individuals will be blessed as each walk by faith, not by sight.

For in [this] hope we were saved. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For how can one hope for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure. 26 So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance, Romans 8:24-26.

The apostle Paul builds upon this concept in a letter to the Church at Rome. Instead of talking about doubt, Paul uses hope as an object of faith. Rather than have the opportunity to see and touch Jesus, future believers must rely on hope to trust first century eyewitnesses who heard the gospel message in person. Faith in what is unseen is made possible via the Holy Spirit which serves as a spiritual counselor, John 16:13.

For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him, Colossians 1:16.

In a letter to the Church at Colosse, Paul reinforces this concept. Reflecting upon the Trinity, Paul highlights Jesus’ role in the creation of the heavens and the earth. Although a secular society continues to attack the Bible’s infallibility, this is where your faith is put to the test. During a message about the End Times, Jesus suggests that many people will abandon their faith, Matthew 24:10-13. The next time doubt creeps into your mind, remember that faith is the assurance of what is unseen, Hebrews 11:1.

by Jay Mankus

The Visible Representation of an Invisible God

Visibility is mentioned 8 times in the Bible. Invisible is mentioned 11 times; 4 of which are written by the apostle Paul. In the passage below, Paul eludes to visible signs that most people take for granted. For example, when I visit the beach I like to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean and set over the Indian River Bay. Yet, when I am at home, I’m consumed by my work schedule and too tired to care about God’s creation on my days off.

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], 21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened, Romans 1:20-21.

Apparently, members of the Church at Rome were going through the motions. A stale faith was preventing these individuals from seeing the invisible attributes and nature of God. Thus, the passage above serves as a wake up call, a spiritual warning to idle Christians. Paul doesn’t hold back his displeasure, exhorting members of this church to stop making excuses. In other words, open your eyes so that the Holy Spirit will help you can see the Lord at work.

[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation, Colossians 1:15.

In a letter to the Church at Colosse, Paul unveils that Jesus is the visible representation of an invisible God. Just as one of Jesus’ disciples provides a historical account of His relationship with God, John 1:1-5, Paul builds upon this fact. Putting everything together, Paul describes Jesus as the firstborn of all creation. Just like the man born blind in John 9:6-7 who sees for the very first time, it’s time for Christian’s to slow down, take a look around and see the visible representation of an invisible God.

by Jay Mankus

Divine Inspiration

Divine inspiration comes from a supernatural force. Once this spirit of enlightenment falls upon an individual, people often experience a creative desire that is not normal. Reports of divine inspiration have occurred for thousands of years, typically in the context of a religious encounter. In the passage below, the prophet Samuel received eyewitness accounts of King Saul under divine inspiration. This led many to believe that Saul possessed the gift of prophecy.

And when [Saul] had turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart, and all these signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to the hill [Gibeah], behold, a band of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came mightily upon him, and he spoke under divine inspiration among them.11 And when all who knew Saul before saw that he spoke by inspiration among the [schooled] prophets, the people said one to another, What has come over [him, who is nobody but] the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? – 1 Samuel 10:9-11

In the first century, Jesus gathered together a group of 12 men to be his primary disciples. Within this group, Jesus selected James, John, and Peter to become part of his inner circle. On a few occasions, usually during a special healing, only these 3 men were allowed to enter a room with Jesus. If anyone understood divine inspiration, Peter had a front row seat, watching and witnessing miracles performed by Jesus every day.

[Yet] first [you must] understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is [a matter] of any personal or private or special interpretation (loosening, solving). 21 For no prophecy ever originated because some man willed it [to do so—it never came by human impulse], but men spoke from God who were borne along (moved and impelled) by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:20-21.

During my senior year of college, I attended a night of prayer. After this ended at 11pm, I was filled with an overwhelming spirit to share my faith with others students. In the next hour, a friend and I walked throughout campus, talking to complete strangers. My friend Mike watched in awe as the Holy Spirit spoke through me. An hour later, I didn’t remember anything I said that night. The only logical explanation for this one evening is divine inspiration.

by Jay Mankus

Unsung Heroes of the Night

Early on in the first century, following Jesus became fashionable. One physician shares his recollection of Jesus’ popularity at the end of Luke 9. Eager to follow in the footsteps of the 12 disciples, several individuals sought out Jesus, asking if they too could become a disciple. Luke’s account records 3 rejections with the spiritual reason for this no. In the passage below, Jesus appointed 72 additional disciples, but who are these unsung heroes of the night?

Now after this the Lord chose and appointed seventy others and sent them out ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come (visit), Luke 10:1.

The disciple whom Jesus loved mentions two of these unsung heroes by name. While 11 disciples abandoned Jesus following his arrest, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus played their part behind the scenes. Joseph went to the governor, convincing him to hand over Jesus’ body to have a proper burial. Meanwhile, a Pharisee who was timid earlier in John 3:1, came out of the darkness to stand tall. According to John, these two men prepared Jesus’ body to be buried.

And after this, Joseph of Arimathea—a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews—asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate granted him permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 And Nicodemus also, who first had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, [weighing] about a hundred pounds. 40 So they took Jesus’ body and bound it in linen cloths with the spices (aromatics), as is the Jews’ customary way to prepare for burial, John 19:38-40.

Two thousand years later, you don’t have to receive an invitation from Jesus to be considered a disciple. Part of the Jesus’ command to first century spiritual leaders, Matthew 28:19-20, is to make disciples. Luke refers to when this call should commence, Acts 1:8, as the Holy Spirit comes upon you. If you want to be an unsung hero for God today, keep in step with God’s Spirit, Galatians 5:25, so you will be ready when God calls you act.

by Jay Mankus

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