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A Spiritual Makeover for Troubled Souls

A makeover is a complete transformation or remodeling of something. The two most common usages apply to an individual’s physical appearance or the complete renovation of a house. Whether due to age, deterioration and or erosion, makeovers may be necessary to extend life. This may be in the form of altering one’s diet and exercise so that healthy foods and working out will promote a spiritual makeover.

And also the Holy Spirit adds His testimony to us [in confirmation of this]. For having said, 16 This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding), Hebrews 10:15-16.

The author of Hebrews eludes to an internal change that takes place through the power of the Holy Spirit. To those who experienced this transformation in the first century shared their testimonies. One of the ways sinners alter their wayward habits is by meditating on God’s laws, Joshua 1:8. When this spiritual discipline is done with a sincere heart, minds begin shift from selfish toward eternity. As mindsets begin to change, thoughts and understanding set the stage for a spiritual makeover.

 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

The apostle Paul illustrates this transformation in the passage above. Whenever you stop living for yourself and start living for a higher calling, earthly bodies can begin to make this transition. Yet, a spiritual makeover can’t occur until you stop conforming to the patterns of this world. Just like Jesus encouraged his followers to emulate the beatitudes, spiritual transformation is an ongoing process as Christians seek to find out God’s will for your life. Unfortunately, change takes time as trial and error will close one door while opening another. It is on this journey where spiritual makeovers near completion.

by Jay Mankus

Maintaining a Clear Perspective While Coping with Grief

I’ve never dealt well with funerals. I have a hard enough time of thinking of what to say on a normal day let alone trying to console grieving family members. One of the best words of advice I’ve ever received is to never say “I know how you feel..” Rather, the best thing you can do for a grieving individual is give them a hug and reply “when you’re ready to talk, I’m all ears.” Yet, no human advice can replace the wisdom found in the Bible,

The Lord is building up Jerusalem; He is gathering together the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows], Psalm 147:2-3.

The Psalmist refers to dark times in the history of Israel. Due to a lack of disobedience, God allowed this nation to be conquered by the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Old Testament speaks of these periods as living in exile as many were taken from and forced to live in these two different countries. In the passage above, the exile lead to a broken heart as the Psalmist struggled to accept why God let this happen.

Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See! The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away, Revelation 21:3-4.

Meanwhile, one of Jesus’ disciples provides an eternal perspective of the future. Dealing with adversity, hardship and pain is not a pleasant experience. The best way to maintain a clear perspective while coping with grief is to see life on earth as temporary. According to John, when Christians enter eternal life in heaven, God will wipe away all of our tears. Therefore, while the present may be filled with disappointment and pain, lean on the Holy Spirit to get you through the grieving process of death.

by Jay Mankus

It’s Hard to Get Plugged In When You Can’t Find the Outlet

In this age of technology and social media, there are several cords and plugs scattered around my house and inside my car. When a cell phone begins to loose it’s power, it’s helpful to have one of these chargers already plugged in. However, what happens when a cord stops working or the battery stops holding a charge. Meanwhile, if you visit a new country in Europe and don’t buy an adapter prior to your trip, it’s hard to get plugged in when you can’t find the right outlet.

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), 2 Peter 1:3.

One of Jesus’ disciples uses a similar analogy while writing a letter to first century Christians scattered throughout the Middle East. While Peter doesn’t go into specific details, the passage above suggests that Christians began to feel powerless to change their lives. Thus, the beginning of Peter’s letter serves as a pep talk to uplift those Christians who feel defeated. Paul reminds his audience that God has given us everything we need in this life.

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 1:4.

What Peter is referencing is the power of the Holy Spirit. Whenever anyone enters into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10, this spiritual counselor becomes available. However, unless you’re plugged in spiritually via prayer and studying the Bible, you won’t be able to tap into God’s power. Therefore, when your faith starts to erode due to moral decay, remember the promises in the Bible which is the outlet you need to get plugged in on a daily basis.

by Jay Mankus

Mind Games

As a teenage boy, I wasn’t charismatic or eloquent. I struggled to maintain a B average and entered high school at 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. While competing in sports was my first love, attractive females began to get my attention. Unfortunately, I was so small and quiet, that I was invisible when other guys were around. Subsequently, dating was something that I longed for, but was unable find someone that liked me more than a friend.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

What made matters worse was a severe speech impediment. When I opened my mouth, I never knew if I was going to embarrass myself in class or actually spit something out. I could visualize what I wanted to say, but my mind would play tricks on me. The longer this condition persisted, I began to develop an ungodly belief that I would never be able to share what was in my heart and on my mind.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

After entering into a personal relationship with Jesus as a sophomore in high school, I was introduced to the promises of the Bible. When I learned about my own internal struggles in Galatians 5:16-18, the miracles of Jesus gave me hope. My prayers began to focus on healing my stuttering so that this mind game would end. Twenty years after my condition was first diagnosed, the power of the Holy Spirit finally broke through. While the Devil still tries to remind me of my past, the Bible has steadied my faith as this spiritual mind game continues today.

by Jay Mankus

The Hidden Principle of Rebellion

Rebellion refers to an open resistance to an established government or ruler. In the earliest days on earth, God kept in simple by giving Adam and Eve freedom from every area of the Garden of Eden accept for one. The only boundary to steer clear from was to abstain from eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Genesis 2:16-17. Moses doesn’t mention any craving, desire or enticement until a crafty serpent began to open Eve’s mind to rebellion.

Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity, Genesis 3:1-5.

At the beginning of this encounter, Eve does the right thing by repeating God’s warning to avoid fruit from this tree. As Satan continued his subtle persuasion, Eve’s mind was open to bending this rule. According to Moses, Adam was right there with her, listening to Satan’s justification and rationalization to rebel against God. Instead of interrupting this conversation and tell Satan to get lost, Adam’s idleness opened the door for rebellion to enter the earth.

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 [c]he who restrains is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming, 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8.

The apostle Paul unveils Satan’s plan of introducing the hidden principle of rebellion to mankind. While this lawlessness has been restrained for now by the power of the Holy Spirit, there will come a day when this is unleashed. Immediately following the second coming of Jesus, the anti-Christ will reign the earth for 7 years until the battle of Armageddon. Yet, for now human beings must use prayer as a hedge of protection so that rebellion doesn’t poison your soul and ruin your life.

by Jay Mankus

The Science of the Bible

The Laws of Thermodynamics were developed by multiple individuals over 400 years.  French physicist Sadi Carnot was the first to define the basic principles of thermodynamics in 1824. The first law states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. In the very first chapter of the Bible, Moses understood this law, explaining this concept in the passage below. The first law of thermodynamics supports the law of conservation of energy. “The total energy of an isolated system remains constant; it is said to be conserved over time.” From a biblical point of view, this is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth. 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 1:1-2.

The second law of thermodynamics establishes the concept of entropy as a physical property of a thermodynamic system. Entropy predicts the direction of spontaneous processes and determines whether they are irreversible or impossible. In layman terms, the second law asserts that some thermodynamic processes are forbidden. One of the Psalmists refers to this scientific fact in the passage below. One observation derived from this second law is that the entropy of isolated systems left to spontaneous evolution cannot decrease. While human life is limited on earth, God’s power and Spirit endures.

At the beginning You existed and laid the foundations of the earth; the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They shall perish, but You shall remain and endure; yes, all of them shall wear out and become old like a garment. Like clothing You shall change them, and they shall be changed and pass away, Psalm 102:25-26.

In the last 50 years, naturalistic scholars and secular historians have teamed up to erase Science from the Bible. After a series of lawsuits banned public Bible reading and prayer from public education, the assault on biblical principles began. Fueled by offended atheists, this barrage continues today causing many Christians to hide their faith, afraid of retribution via the Cancel Culture. Despite what the liberal media constantly proclaims, God’s truth corresponds with scientific truth. During a conversation with a first century governor, Jesus reveals the source of truth, John 18:37. If you don’t believe me, read the books of C.S. Lewis, a former atheist who sought to disprove the Bible before finally surrendering to the Great I Am. This is the science of the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

The Utmost Freedom of Speech

Oswald Chambers named his daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest. Following his death in 1917, Chambers’ widow published this collection of sermons designed to reach students and soldiers in 1927. Prior to modern technology, you could find a copy of My Utmost for His Highest in churches across the country. Whether at a Church Office, Foyer or Welcome Center, free copies were often made available to guests to deepen the spiritual growth of believers.

This is in keeping with my own eager desire and persistent expectation and hope, that I shall not disgrace myself nor be put to shame in anything; but that with the utmost freedom of speech and unfailing courage, now as always heretofore, Christ (the Messiah) will be magnified and get glory and praise in this body of mine and be boldly exalted in my person, whether through (by) life or through (by) death, Philippians 1:20.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul refers to “the utmost freedom of speech.” Paul isn’t referring to the Bill of Rights or the United States Constitution. Rather, this expression is based upon the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of apostles eager to share the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ. Fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20, conceived in Paul a desire, expectation, and hope to tell the world about Jesus.

For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity], Philippians 1:21.

Out of this utmost freedom of speech spawned one of the most famous sayings in the New Testament. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Paul proclaims to live is Christ and to die is gain. Like a foreshadowing of his future death as a prisoner of Christ, this utmost freedom fueled Paul’s spiritual intensity. In today’s age of Cancel Culture, many Christians are muzzled, afraid of the blow back from social media. Instead of becoming a prisoner of fear, snap out of it so that you too can experience the utmost freedom of speech.

by Jay Mankus

30 Seconds of Courage

Audacity, boldness, and valor are words associated with courage. While the average lifespan of a male in the United States of America is 76 years of age, few ever demonstrate 30 seconds of courage while on earth. Fear of rejection, peer pressure, and political correctness keep most people confined, under wraps, afraid to go against the flow.

From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised from death. Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! 23 But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men, Matthew 16:21-24.

Although some may talk a good game, when the opportunity to be courageous arrives, rarely does an individual rise to the challenge. Take Peter for example, the rock upon which God will build the church, Matthew 16:18. When Jesus was about to be arrested early Good Friday morning, Peter took up his sword. However, later that night when asked if he knew Jesus, Peter did the opposite with 30 seconds of cowardice.

You stubborn and stiff-necked people, still heathen and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit. As your forefathers [were], so you [are and so you do]! 52 Which of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute? And they slew those who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, Whom you now have betrayed and murdered—53 You who received the Law as it was ordained and set in order and delivered by angels, and [yet] you did not obey it! – Acts 7:51-53

Despite Peter’s epic failure, there was one apostle who displayed 30 seconds of courage. Instead of recanting his faith in Jesus, Stephen gave a moving speech before being stoned to death. Oddly enough, the religious leader who gave the order to have Stephen killed is the soon to be apostle Paul. If it wasn’t for Stephen’s 30 seconds of courage, Paul’s life may have taken a different path. May the power of the Holy Spirit inspire you to demonstrate 30 seconds of courage this Easter Season.

by Jay Mankus

The Fear of Missing Out

FOMO is a social anxiety disorder that stems from the belief that others might be having fun while the person experiencing the anxiety is not present. Likely a byproduct and symptom of social media, the fear of missing out is characterized by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. This condition mostly affects teenagers and college students who struggle with self-esteem issues.

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice, Isaiah 41:10.

An Old Testament prophet who died a martyr death addresses fear in the passage above. According to biblical historians, Isaiah was suspended upside down between two trees by Manasseh around 685 Before Christ. While it’s unclear if he was given the chance to recant his faith, Isaiah was literally sawed in two. This unseemly fate occurred to a man who once said, “there is nothing to fear when you’re in God’s hands.”

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:7.

The apostle Paul builds upon Isaiah’s words in one of two letters to a teenage pastor. Pointing to the power of the Holy Spirit, the best way to overcome fear is by looking up to God. Instead bowing down to foreign spirits of cowardice and fear, God provides the discipline necessary to confront and conquer FOMO. Since you can’t be everywhere that you want, listen to God’s Spirit, Galatians 5:25, so you’re where God needs you to be.

by Jay Mankus

From the Womb to the Tomb

Based upon annual pregnancy statistics, 6 million American women get pregnant each year. Of these total pregnancies, roughly 4 millions result in live births. In a typical year, there are between 600,000 to 700,000 abortions nationwide. Unfortunately, the remaining 1.3 million pregnancies end in miscarriages. Which mean that millions of unborn babies never make it out of their woman’s womb alive each year.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations,” Jeremiah 1:5.

To those who survive, the Bible refers to an abundant life. Based upon Jesus’ own words below, there is a thief that will come to steal your joy while living on earth. While no time table is given, it’s assumed that this battle will last from the womb to the tomb. Therefore, it’s essential that you begin to defend yourself so that you don’t go through life depressed, lifeless and void of enthusiasm.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

According to the apostle Paul, joy comes from a personal relationship with God, Romans 15:13. When Christians begin to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4, you’ll find everything that you’ll need for life. Despite this comforting news, remaining joyful is a difficult task when you consider the powers of darkness that exist, Ephesians 6:12. If you want an added sense of security from the womb to the tomb, trusting Jesus each day is your best option, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

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