Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: the power of the Holy Spirit

Explaining the Absence of the Holy Spirit

In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul reveals how God dishes out a variety of spiritual gifts.  These special abilities are given out by the grace of God.  Some of these are ordinary such as giving, serving or teaching.  Other talents are extraordinary, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, spiritual gifts like healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues often elicit jealousy in those that don’t possess a supernatural gift.

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

To address issues like envy, the apostle Paul writes a similar letter to the church at Rome.  In the passage below, Paul compares spiritual gifts to a church body with many parts.  Apart or own their own, a spiritual gift glorifies individuals, not God.  However, when individuals submit to God by joining a local congregation, your gift makes a difference by filling a spiritual hole.  The purpose of any spiritual gift is to serve God by offering your body as a living sacrifice.  While certain gifts will always overshadow your gift, hearts and minds need to stay focused on the common good.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully, Romans 12:4-8.

Jesus and first century church leaders warned about counterfeit, fake and imposters who come in the name of Jesus.  These individuals still exist today, often perpetrating frauds on those who watch on television or attend a rally.  When truth exposes these people like Steve Martin in a Leap of Faith, modern churches are harmed by these spiritual stains.  Whenever spiritual gifts are used to glorify self, the Holy Spirit will move to another area, region or country.  While most people wish they had another spiritual gift, for now God seeks humble servants willing to be the hands and feet of Christ today.  The dedicated, faithful and obedient persevere during spiritual droughts, hopeful that the presence of the Holy Spirit will return when God’s timing is right.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

Anointed with a Great Power

One of the disciples makes an interesting observation about Jesus.  Just as Lois Lane sought to comprehend the source of Superman’s powers, Peter points to the anointing of the Holy Spirit to explain Jesus’ great power.  As someone who spent nearly 3 years living and traveling with Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit defied logic and science.  This anointing occurred as followers watched John baptize Jesus in the Jordan River, Matthew 3:13-17.

You know the things that have taken place throughout Judea, starting in Galilee after the baptism preached by John— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him, Acts 10:37-38.

As Peter watched Jesus day after day perform miracles, a doctor attempts to explain how the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus to heal individuals oppressed by the Devil.  In an era where mental health continues to be a mystery, the Holy Spirit served as x-ray vision to identify unclean spirits messing up the lives of human beings.  The four gospels are filled with testimonies of where Jesus addresses, confronts and casts out demons using the power of the Holy Spirit.

“I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, 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 help you remember everything that I have told you, John 14:25-26.

As Passion Week, the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, drew close, Jesus gathered his disciples together to reveal a future gift from God.  The disciple whom Jesus loved refers to this spiritual entity as an Advocate, Counselor and Intercessor.  On the day of Pentecost, Acts 2, the Holy Spirit fell upon followers of Jesus.  According to the New Testament, this great power is available to those who are baptized following their conversation.  While the presence of the Holy Spirit may not be as visible today, this great power is awaiting for those who believe.  May the words of the prophet, Joel 2:28-29, deliver a new anointing with great power.

by Jay Mankus

Try, Try Again

Since the election of Donald Trump in November of 2016, a resistance movement conceived within the United States.  Those who have joined this political wave are refusing to accept the outcome of this election.  Instead activists are urging supporters to battle, defy, fight and oppose the policies of president Trump.  After nearly two years, members of the House, Senate and mainstream media are putting on a full court press to override the will of the people.  Despite numerous failures to achieve their goal to impeach Donald Trump, the leaders of this movement continue to try and try again.

“And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel,” Genesis 3:15.

There is another adversary who has a long history of perseverance.  When the archangel Lucifer exercised free will to seek praise for his own beauty as the angel of song, Ezekiel 28:12-15, he was kicked out of heaven.  Apparently, one third of all angels from heaven backed Lucifer, expelled from heaven along with their leader.  Hungry for power, Lucifer successfully deceived the first human family on earth as Adam and Eve’s blunder netted Satan authority over plant earth.  Although limited based upon encounters with God in Job 1-2, Satan continues his reign today as ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2.  In an eternal game of chess, God quickly regained control by sending a second Adam to restore that which was lost, Luke 19:10.  When news of this plan reached Satan, demons were assigned to cut off this seed.  Planting evil thoughts within the mind of King Herod, Matthew 2:13-23, all male infants two years and younger were slaughtered to abort God’s plan for redemption.  Yet, an angel of the Lord awoke Joseph just in time, escaping to Egypt for a few years until King Herod’s death.  According to the book of Revelation, all of Satan’s efforts are all for not for in the end God is victorious.

Yet death ruled [over mankind] from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who had not sinned as Adam did. Adam is a type of Him (Christ) who was to come [but in reverse—Adam brought destruction, Christ brought salvation], Romans 5:14.

If your life is like mine, every day can be a grind; leaving me exhausted.  Having the desire and energy to try, try again doesn’t come naturally for me.  Thus, in my weakness, I am compelled to cry out to Jesus like 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, praying that the power of the Holy Spirit will make me strong.  One of the hardest aspects of life is dealing with failure, especially for perfectionists.  Coping with and getting over the thought of embarrassment and losing is a tough pill to swallow.  For some, they have a hard time forgiving themselves, especially if you blow it big time.  Thus, most people need a friend, mentor or motivation to live and learn from past mistakes.  Recently, I came across the song Overcomer by Mandisa.  The point of the chorus within the lyrics is to get back on your feet after falling.  If you ask God to give you the resolve and will to press on, then you too can try, try again until success is achieved.

by Jay Mankus

Active, Lukewarm or Dead?

Animated, bubbly, dynamic, energetic, perky and vigorous are all synonyms which highlight active individuals.  When you came in contact with these lively souls, its possible to feed off of their enthusiasm.  During Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus encouraged his followers to add flavor to the lives of people you encounter, Matthew 5:13-16.  When actions and words co-exist, faith rubs off on others, similar to a lamp shining light into the darkness of this world.

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth, Revelation 3:16.

Prior to modern appliances, cooling drinks or adding ice cubes wasn’t an option.  Thus, past civilizations were forced to endure room temperature drinks.  The Bible refers to this as lukewarm.  The context in which this term is applied signifies an inactive faith.  From a spiritual point of view, idle faith is an insult to God, void of salt and light.  Unfortunately, I find myself closer to lukewarm than active.  In fact, in recent weeks I am hovering somewhere between a lukewarm and dying faith.

For just as the [human] body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works [of obedience] is also dead, James 2:26.

When talking about judgment, Jesus uses the expression take the plank out of your own eye before criticizing someone else, Matthew 7:1-5.  One of the members in the audience that day opens up about his own life in the passage above.  Taking a look in the mirror from a spiritual perspective, James looks back at a time in his life when his faith was dead.  Despite being raised by Mary and Joseph, James’ faith was lukewarm at best until the resurrection of Jesus.  I guess we all need a wake up call at some point.  May this blog awaken your soul to activate your faith, fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Closing Your Mind to God’s Power

As a parent of three children between the age of 13 and 20, words reveal a common mindset that often goes unnoticed.  Perhaps, a decade of teaching high school has heightened my awareness to this growing epidemic.  A lack of confidence, low self-esteem and sheltered from positive influences is to blame for this spiritual condition.  What is this crisis?  Individuals who have closed their minds to believing in God’s power to change any grave or impossible situation.

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” Matthew 19:26.

This lack of perception was present among first century disciples of Jesus.  Human nature caused these servants of God to confuse being good with salvation.  When a model example of righteousness was turned away by Jesus, doubt began to creep into the disciples minds, wondering if anyone could be saved?  However, in the passage above, Jesus corrects this flawed mindset by highlighting that nothing is impossible with God.  Unfortunately, Satan has convinced many believers today that God doesn’t have the power to alter, improve or transform their current dilemma.

For nothing will be impossible with God,” Luke 1:37.

A first century doctor provides a cure for this lack of faith.  Luke prescribes that when doubt begins to weaken your faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, turn your attention toward history.  The past serves as a reminder of God’s previous power in the lives of Elizabeth, Mary and various miracles throughout the Old Testament.  This record proves that nothing is impossible with God.  Therefore, don’t let the father of lies convince you to close your mind to God’s previous miracles.  May the word of God, Romans 10:17, open your minds to the mega possibilities when you let the Holy Spirit into your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

Another Reason to Pray

My son Daniel recently took the whole family out to dinner.  Proud of his new job, working at the local Brazilian Steakhouse, he wanted everyone to taste the food he takes home each night.  During the evening, several co-workers complimented my son of his strong work ethic and dependability.  Surprised by all this flattery, I thought to myself, “what have I done?”  Drawing a blank, I couldn’t point to anything in particular.  The only thing that came to mind was my daily prayers for each member of my family.  Perhaps, this simple discipline is paying off, transforming individuals through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted,” Matthew 5:4.

One of the hardest parts of praying is the uncertainty of answers to prayer.  God answers with one of three responses, yes, no and not now.  While some things are obvious like praying for a job or getting into the school of your choice, most topics for prayer take weeks, months or years to get a clear reply.  Although, I have gone through periods of doubt, wondering if I was merely wasting my time, a verse from the book of Acts has given me hope.  According to Luke, a well known first century physician, God has the ability to commemorate acts of faith.

Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.  The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God, Acts 10:4.

Cornelius was a God fearing centurion who led the Italian Regiment.  Cornelius wasn’t a do what I say, not what I do kind of guy.  Rather, Cornelius practiced his faith, emulating a godly leader at home and on the battle field.  Based upon the angelic encounter above, God has the ability to bless, honor and memorialize prayer warriors.  Therefore, if you feel like your current prayer life is void of results, don’t lose heart.  Rather, press on with another reason to pray so that God will respond soon to your heart felt plea for action.

by Jay Mankus

Believing that You are Deserving

There is an insecurity that exists within human beings.  This fear plants doubt into the minds of the humbled, frustrated and unsuccessful.  Thus, many individuals go through life believing that they are not deserving.  This lack of confidence gives birth to a self-fulfilled prophecy as negativity becomes reality.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.

Earlier in the week I caught an emotional interview on television.  While most of the media’s attention centered around the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, one professional golfer provided words of inspiration.  After losing his PGA card in 2016, Shawn Stefani was relegated to the Web.com Tour this year.  At the final event of the season, Shawn’s future as a professional golfer was up in the air.  On the bubble of earning a promotion to the PGA tour, Stefani’s had to play a solid final 18 holes to earn of one the 25 cards up for grabs.  After just making it by shooting 65, Shawn broke down in tears saying,”sometimes you have to believe that you are deserving.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope, Romans 15:13.

When circumstances in life don’t go your way, it’s hard to stay optimistic.  There is an expression in sports that refers to digging down deep while fighting adversity.  This same concept applies to life when individuals are placed into situations where you are forced to develop a will to survive or accept defeat.  It is during this struggle where desperate people need to begin to believe that yes, you are deserving to accomplish the dreams and goals in your heart.

by Jay Mankus

 

%d bloggers like this: