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Tag Archives: the power of the Holy Spirit

The First Medical Miracle

Daniel Hale Williams performed the first documented successful pericardium surgery in 1893. Over the past 129 years, countless miracles have occurred with many procedures now considered routine outpatient surgeries. One thing that you may not know about my family is that my Uncle Tony is the longest living recipient of an open-heart transplant in the Unted States. Still alive today, Tony Mankus is a living example of a medical miracle.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh. 22 And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man, Genesis 2:21-23.

Moses writes about the first medical miracle ever recorded in the Bible. Rather than place Adam under general anesthesia like a common procedure in American hospitals, God wanted until Adam was sound asleep. Likely following a full day of work in the Garden of Eden as a ground’s keeper and farmer. As Adam was unconscious, God operates as a surgeon who removes a rib and part of his side to form the first medical miracle, in the Bible forming the first woman on earth.

And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? 35 Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. 36 And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment, Luke 1:34-37.

Thousands of years later, Mary had her own doubts about an encounter with an angel. Scientifically, to conceive a child without having sex is impossible unless it’s done via a test-tube with donated sperm. Yet, the angel reassured Mary that this would be accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. After dealing with the fact that God could have chosen anyone, Mary came to realize that anything is possible with God, especially, medical miracles.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 288: Your Grace Finds Me

Today’s featured song comes from across the pond as they say in golf. Matt Redman is now based in Brighton, East Sussex, United Kingdom. Matt is also an active member of Compassionart, a charity founded by fellow musician Martin Smith. I was introduced to Matt by a local Christian radio in Delaware. However, during a recent You Tube search, I was touched by the lyrics of Redman’s song Your Grace Finds Me.

But He gives us more and more grace ([a]power of the Holy Spirit, to meet this evil tendency and all others fully). That is why He says, God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace [continually] to the lowly (those who are humble enough to receive it), James 4:6.

One of the ways grace finds Christians is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Like the day of Pentecost, grace may arrive unexpectedly or come just when you need to hear some good news. Either way, God gives grace to the humble and those mired in difficult circumstances. As you listen to today’s song, may God’s grace find you in one way or another. Enjoy.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 235: I’m Not Who I Was

One of the requirements for a disciple of Jesus is introduced in Matthew 16:24-27. Jesus lays out 3 expectations: deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. Prior to ascending into heaven, Jesus clarifies his great commission in Acts 1:8. Modern Christian musicians like Brandon Heath use their voices to tell the world about Jesus, spreading the Gospel throughout the earth.

You have heard of my earlier career and former manner of life in the Jewish religion (Judaism), how I persecuted and abused the church of God furiously and extensively, and [with fanatical zeal did my best] to make havoc of it and destroy it. 14 And [you have heard how] I outstripped many of the men of my own generation among the people of my race in [my advancement in study and observance of the laws of] Judaism, so extremely enthusiastic and zealous I was for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart [even] before I was born and had called me by His grace (His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased, Galatians 1:13-15.

Brandon uses the outline provided by the apostle Paul in the passage above to communicate his testimony. The lyrics of I’m Not Who I Was explains how the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit has gradually transformed Brandon’s life. As you listen to this song, may you be encouraged that it’s never too late to change for the better.

by Jay Mankus

The Origin of Hope

Before entering into a relationship with God as a sophomore in high school, hope was just another word to me. Hope was one of those words that self-help gurus used in infomercials to get you to buy their latest book or video. As I stood in front of my mirror performing a pep talk, “I think I can, I think I can,” was my man-made expression of hope.

My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me. 21 But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: 22 It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness, Lamentations 3:20-23.

When I searched the internet for the origins of hope, my results were obscure. Therefore, I moved onto my first memory of Mere Christianity as a high school Bible teacher. According to C.S. Lewis, hope is one of three theological virtues along with charity (love) and faith. One of Jesus’ former disciples writes about how individuals can access hope, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses], Hebrews 11:1.

While Cardinal virtues are accessible to anyone, true hope is only available through the power of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul lists a series of traits that naturally flow out of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-11. This is the origin of hope which makes producing the spiritual fruits in the Bible possible, Galatians 5:22-25. I pray that you share this message with friends who need to experience hope. by Jay Mankus

An Eagle’s Perspective on Life

As someone who grew up 30 minutes from South Philadelphia, whenever an eagle is brought up, I immediately think of the National Football League franchise “the Philadelphia Eagles.” Meanwhile, the bald eagle became the iconic emblem of the United States on June 20th, 1782. While the eagle represents freedom in America, the Bible provides an eagle’s perspective on life.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; 31 But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired, Isaiah 40:30-31.

Prior to the invention of drones, eagles would provide a bird’s eye of the earth. One Old Testament prophet compares the Lord to a mature eagle. Although young Christians become exhausted, tired and weak, the power of the Holy Spirit will rise you up by renewing your strength. The above passage serves as a promise from God whenever you feel like you don’t have the energy to take another step in life.

Then I [looked and I] saw a solitary eagle flying in midheaven, and as it flew I heard it crying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the rest of the trumpet blasts which the three angels are about to sound! – Revelation 8:13

Yet, the title of today’s blog comes from a vision from John the Revelator. Following the 4th of seven tribulations in the book of Revelation, John sees an eagle flying solo. After scanning the devastation from the first 4 tribulations, this eagle cries out in a loud voice. Like a news video after a natural disaster, this eagle’s perspective on life serves as a cautionary tale of the troubling times ahead in the end of days.

by Jay Mankus

The Waters of Life

According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, water is among one of the most basic elements for human survival. God created human beings in such a way where completeness isn’t achieved until all five levels are reached, John 10:10. The physiological need of water is mentioned by a Psalmist. Yet, the passage below appears to be referring to Jesus’ words in John 4:13-15.

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night. And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity], Psalm 1:2-3.

This living water is described by the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:6-7, building upon the words in the passage above. The concept is similar to the words of one of the forefathers of Israel in Joshua 1:8. As Christians mediate on God’s Word, day and night, this is equivalent to studying the Bible daily. The biblical truths that Christians extract from the Bible is like the waters of life mention below.

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun smite them, nor any [d]scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of the waters of life; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, Revelation 7:16-17.

Jesus spoke to Pharisees at the house of Levi in Matthew 9:11-13. The ideal goal of a Christian is to become solely reliant on the Word of God for answers in life. While the power of the Holy Spirit is detailed in 2 Peter 1:3-4, investing time reading the Bible is like bathing in the springs of living water. Anyone who exercises this spiritual discipline will be refreshed like the woman at the well in Samaria.

by Jay Mankus

When God Gives People Time to Repent

I spent five seasons as a youth baseball coach. As a former pitcher myself, the mound can be a lonely place when you can’t find the strike zone. I developed a reputation for pulling pitchers too soon, not giving young players the chance to work their way out of trouble. However, according to one of Jesus’ disciples, God does gives wayward people time to repent.

I gave her time to repent, but she has no desire to repent of her immorality [symbolic of idolatry] and refuses to do so, Revelation 2:21.

Unfortunately, God’s timing and mine rarely coincide. Whether you’re stubborn, rebellious or wayward, God doesn’t force anyone to repent. Rather, as individuals get closer to the bottom of the barrel, coming to your senses varies, Luke 15:14-17. As desperation lingers and a sense of urgency is conceived, sinners come forward on their own, trying to catch up with God.

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:16.

Ian Murray’s book Revival and Revivalism sets the scene for America’s poor spiritual state in 1799. It only took 23 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence for the spiritual climate in the United States to deteriorate. Like the condition of the prodigal son in Luke 15, when God gives people time to repent a spirit of confession forms within broken hearts. May the power of the Holy Spirit be poured out once again upon this country to ignite another spiritual awakening in 2022.

by Jay Mankus

Does Your Church Have an Angel?

When I think of angels, I usually imagine guardian angels who watch over an individual’s life. Yet, according to John, one of his visions that makes up the book of Revelation, there were 7 specific churches in Asia Minor who possessed an angel. Based upon the passage below, John compares these angels with spiritual messengers who guided the leaders of these 7 churches.

As to the hidden meaning (the mystery) of the seven stars which you saw on My right hand and the seven lampstands of gold: the seven stars are the seven angels (messengers) of the seven assemblies (churches) and the seven lampstands are the seven churches, Revelation 1:20.

As someone who has attended various churches throughout the United States, there are certain places where you sense the power of the Holy Spirit as you enter. Meanwhile, other church buildings seem strange, often giving me an uneasy feeling as I sit down. Is the difference between these churches the presence of an angel or the power of the faith within the members of a congregation?

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service], Psalm 91:11.

One of the Psalmists writes about an angels ability to accompany Christians. Yet, God uses angels to defend and preserve the faith of those who believe. However, if Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels were kicked out of heaven, whether or not freewill is exercised will dictate the spiritual climate of a church. If angels are like modern day spiritual guides, the more church leaders keep in step with the Holy Spirit will set the culture and spiritual tone of modern day houses of worship.

by Jay Mankus

The Day Demons Were Driven Out

For Jesus, this day started out like any other. Getting up early, taking a walk in the wilderness, and spending time in prayer. Yet, when the disciples woke up, they began to panic, unaware of Jesus’ morning routine. According to John Mark, a frantic search for Jesus began until he was found sometime after the sun rose. Rather than follow the whims of the disciples, Jesus went to the exact place where God wanted him to go.

And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a [u]deserted place, and there He prayed. 36 And Simon [Peter] and those who were with him followed Him [[v]pursuing Him eagerly and hunting Him out], Mark 1:35-36.

How you ever felt like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and never felt right all day long? Have you thought you knew exactly what you want to do today only to find out it was a waste of time? Based upon the passage above, the 12 disciples were in a full-blown panic. Instead of asking God for help, the disciples were frantically searching for Jesus. These were the emotions racing through the minds of these 12 men before Jesus led them to the place where God wanted them to go.

And they found Him and said to Him, Everybody is looking for You. 38 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 1:37-39.

This group traveled to Galilee where Jesus began to preach, teach, and heal. John Mark doesn’t go into specifics on who were demon possessed, but something Jesus said scared the hell out of these demons. Perhaps this encounter was similar to the slave girl that followed Paul around in Acts 16. Whatever the circumstances, the truth that Jesus spoke struck a nerve. Before the day was over, the power of the Holy Spirit was unleashed as these demons were driven out for good.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 104: To The Mystery

Besides Keith Green, Michael Card is one of the Godfathers of Christian music. Michael Card made his debut in 1981. This was well before national Christian Bookstores spread throughout the United States in the late 80’s and early 90’s. My brother-in-law introduced me to Card’s music while I was a college student at the University of Delaware. Since I still embraced secular music at this stage in my life, it took another decade to appreciate Michael Card’s music.

[For my concern is] that their hearts may be [b]braced (comforted, cheered, and encouraged) as they are knit together in love, that they may come to have all the abounding wealth and blessings of assured conviction of understanding, and that they may become progressively [c]more intimately acquainted with and may know more definitely and accurately and thoroughly that mystic secret of God, [which is] Christ (the Anointed One), Colossians 2:2.

Like any type of music, you have to be in a certain mood to listen to songs like To the Mystery. While this tune hasn’t aged well, the lyrics are powerful and make you think about the spiritual concept of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. If God has the power to raise human beings like Lazarus from the dead, the power of the Holy Spirit isn’t so far-fetched. I could have chosen from any one of a dozen songs from Michael to feature, but this mystery is worth sharing with the skeptical and unbelieving. Enjoy.

by Jay Mankus

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