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Tag Archives: The Holy Spirit

S.A.N.S. Episode 225: Never Felt Better

Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, there was a belief among conservative Christian churches that any form of Rock music was of the Devil. This ungodly belief was formed by preachers who didn’t understand the events of the sexual revolution of the late 1960’s. Never Felt Better by Barnabas touches on how this group was ostracized at the time this song was written, but the band members felt like they were following God’s will for their lives.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will, Romans 12:1-2.

The apostle Paul addresses how to discover God’s will in the passage above. As Christians begin to develop and share their earthly talents and spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit often places burdens on your heart in the form of a calling from God, Galatians 5:25. Whenever individuals are able to keep in step with the Spirit, spiritual blessings tend to follow. While Barnabas never received the attention of groups like Petra or Stryper, the members was faithful to God’s calling.

by Jay Mankus

Responding to the Open Doors in Life

Human nature is on full display in Genesis 3. Back in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:15-17, God only gave Adam and Eve one rule. The rest of the garden was free to explore. The story of mankind’s fall from grace was passed down orally until Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. According to Genesis 3, no timetable is provided on the length of the serpent’s temptation. Sometimes open doors are snare traps set by the Devil. Responding to these open doors require caution, maturity and wisdom.

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]. 28 Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need, Ephesians 4:26-28.

One chapter after the warning in the passage above, the apostle Paul introduces the concept of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 5:25. Galatians 5:16-18 details this internal tug of war which Adam and Eve both lost. When a child is told not to do something by their parents, this boundary or restriction elicits a sense of curiosity. Subsequently, the Tree of Knowledge was accessible by exercising free will. Today, there are countless temptations, opens doors that end up trapping the curious into addictions.

Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]. 20 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 3:19-20.

One of the most beneficial visions in the Bible is a door which only has one handle. God’s side of this door doesn’t have a handle. John’s vision is symbolic of free will. God will try to get your attention daily by knocking or via a still small voice, 1 Kings 19:12. The door handle is on your side so the only way to access open doors is by exercising freewill. Faith comes into play when you try to open these doors, but some may be locked for a season. May today’s song help you learn how to respond to open doors in life.

by Jay Mankus

A Lesson in Humility

When you can’t make your dream job happen, you have to come up with plan B. When plan B fails miserably, you have to scramble to use all of your available resources to hope something will turn up. This is a brief summary of my life over the past 7 months. Following months and months of disappointments, this emotional letdown has taught me a lesson in humility.

A false balance and unrighteous dealings are extremely offensive and shamefully sinful to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness, Proverbs 11:1-2.

One of the wisest persons to walk the face of the earth writes about humility in the passage above. King Solomon was no saint who had his own self-destructive practices. Solomon’s love for women led to 700 wives and 300 concubines. This series of poor decisions to indulge his sexual desires resulted in several dysfunctional relationships. Subsequential, Solomon provides his own lessons in humility.

Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [[b]possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not [c]think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped [d]or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and [e]rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! – Philippians 2:6-8.

While I thought my life was bad, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what Jesus went through to save the world from sin. During his own set of temptations in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus could have bragged about his divine power by turning stones to bread and fly through the air like Superman. Yet, despite being the Son of God, Jesus humbled himself by laying down his own life to save the world, John 3:16-17. The next time you think that your life is so important, consider Jesus’ lesson in humility in the passage above.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 146: Speak to Me

It’s not often that a song changes your life, but Kari Jobe’s Speak to Me worship montage transformed my perspective. When I stumbled upon this version on You Tube, I was going through a trying period at work. Due to a series of transitions, my cushy job was being turned upside down. In my despair, the words of Speak to Me became a daily prayer, asking God for comfort and peace.

Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me, John 14:6.

Over the course of a month, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the positive aspects of my life. Like the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8-9, my anxieties and stress were slowly replaced by the excellent and praise worthy things that God has blessed me with over the years. If the timing of this blog finds you going through a similar struggle, may the words of Speak to Me draw you closer to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 137: Somewhere Somehow

Whenever I hear today’s song, I think of my decision to leave youth ministry. After burning myself out in less than a year, the song Somewhere Somehow was released as a duet between Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. Subsequently, as this song plays I think of all the special friendships and people that I met while serving the Lord in Columbus, Indiana. Just as the lyrics express, I hope for a reunion in the future.

Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east [where they are dispersed] and gather you from the west, Isaiah 43:5.

If this reunion doesn’t occur on earth, there is always heaven to look forward to. Whenever two famous artists unite for a special project or song, I get excited and emotional all at once. Nonetheless, Somewhere Somehow serves as a remainder that God is in control, not you. Therefore, as you listen to the lyrics of this special song, may the Holy Spirit help you believe that anything is possible with God.

by Jay Mankus

The Sum of Christian Belief

Who Are You by the Who is one of those classic rock songs that make you think about life. Pete Townshend’s inspiration behind this song comes from personal experiences with Wino’s, Alcoholic’s, Drug addict’s and the homeless. This quest to figure what led to this lowly position in life is a good lesson for Christians. Who we are and who we can become in a new found faith is the sum of Christian belief.

Beloved, my whole concern was to write to you in regard to our common salvation. [But] I found it necessary and was impelled to write you and urgently appeal to and exhort [you] to contend for the faith which was once for all [a]handed down to the saints [the faith which is that sum of Christian belief which was delivered [b]verbally to the holy people of God], Jude 1:3.

Heresy is a belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religion. From a Christian perspective, there were numerous New Age ideas presented in the first century. As the original disciples of Jesus passed away, there weren’t many eyewitnesses remaining to refute these false claims. Subsequently, Jude was inspired by the Holy Spirit to address the sum of Christian belief.

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. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him, John 3:16-17.

While theology is the science of God. some theologians make the Bible more complex and confuse young Christians searching for answers to questions in life. My spiritual mentor and high school swim coach encouraged me to start with John’s Gospel as well as 1 John. The passage above serves as the sum of Christian belief. The situation is human beings are fallen creatures. The task is who will save us from this condition. The action is to trust in Jesus, Romans 10:9-11. The result is eternal life, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 125: Everything I Need

Kutless is one of the groups I should have featured much earlier, but they were bypassed for other songs that came to my mind. Kutless formed in Portland, Oregan in 1999 and have been rocking and rolling for the last two decades. This longevity has resulted in more than three million sold albums and counting. Besides being Sunday, I chose Everything I Need for the biblically based lyrics.

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.

While listening to this song for the first time, I immediately thought of the words written by one of Jesus’ disciples in the passage above. According to Peter, the Holy Spirit gives Christians everything that they need for life. Yet, the world is filled with distractions that often separate us from God. The lyrics of Everything I Need parallels the Footprints Poem as there will be days that Jesus will need to carry us. When in doubt, lean on the promise in Philippians 4:13 as with Christ anything is possible.

by Jay Mankus

The Testimony of God

If you’re ever had some sort of supernatural experience, you may find it hard to tell a friend that you’ve just seen a ghost, caught a glimpse of a UFO or entertained an angel who suddenly disappears. This is the premise of Joan of Arcadia which ran for two full seasons from 2003-2005. Amber Tamblyn plays Joan Girardi who continues to have daily encounters with God. To avoid being labeled as crazy, Joan keeps this relationship secret, waiting for the right time and person to disclose her testimony of God.

So there are three witnesses [b]in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are One; and there are three witnesses on the earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree [are in unison; their testimony coincides], 1 John 5:7-8.

The disciple whom Jesus loved builds upon the concept of the Trinity that he introduced in John 1:1-6. John refers to witnesses in heaven and witnesses on earth. In the spiritual natural realm, God the Father, the Word which came to life, and the Holy Spirit continue to share their testimony in heaven. Meanwhile, God’s Spirit, living water, and the blood shed by Jesus serve as witnesses on earth today. While this concept is hard to grasp, stories of eyewitnesses during Easter Sunday have passed on their testimony.

If we accept [as we do] the testimony of men [if we are willing to take human authority], the testimony of God is greater (of stronger authority), for this is the testimony of God, even the witness which He has borne regarding His Son, 1 John 5:9.

The apostle Paul provides a blue print for modern day testimonies in Galatians 1:11-24. When I became a Christian in high school, I had no idea of what a testimony was and why it is necessary. Yet, as I attended various conferences, retreats and summer camps, the stories that guest speakers shared were testimonies. Like the old hymn, “Blessed Assurance,” as you evolve spiritually and draw closer to God, lessons are learned that might help others. These testimonies of God are crucial for helping struggling Christians find their way back to Jesus. May this blog inspire you to share your own testimony this Memorial Day.

by Jay Mankus

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

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