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Tag Archives: the power of the Holy Spirit

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

S.A.N.S. Episode 62: Above and Beyond

Today’s featured song comes from an American CCM singer and multi Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist. As someone who has dabbled in creative writing since high school, the lyrics of nearly every Bruce Carroll song moves me. While Above and Beyond appears on more than one album, Bruce’s biblically based lyrics inspired me to craft my own album entitled A Simple Confession.

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life, John 8:12.

The words Above and Beyond contain multiple visual images. Most of my life I’ve allowed circumstances to dictate what I pursue. If I just trusted in the power of the Holy Spirit, my achievements in life would be above and beyond my expectations. As you listen to the lyrics of Above and Beyond, may you be inspired to develop a faith that will elevate you to new heights.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 51: Worlds Away

Today’s song comes from the Simon and Garfunkel of Christian music. Crumbächer and Duke or otherwise displayed as Crumbächer-Duke joined their musical talents in the 1980’s. While not as mellow as Simon and Garfunkel, Crumbächer and Duke mix pop with synthetic dance. When you combine this style with several ballads, Crumbächer and Duke provide a soothing sound for background music.

For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 6:23.

The lyrics of Worlds Away refer to hearing God’s still small voice on earth. Yet, the distractions that exist on earth make God feel worlds away. Whether you’re suffering from depression like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13, seeing the presence of the Lord is rare. However, if you can tune out all of the noise, you may be pleasantly surprised by the power of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4. I hope you enjoy Worlds Away.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 11: Dig

Every once in a while, you will find an artist who sounds identical to another. Growing up in high school, I became a fan of REM. Although I never bought one of their albums, I liked most of their songs. Today’s song comes from the group Adam Again who in my opinion is the REM of Christian music. One of Adam Again’s famous songs is River on Fire based upon the real-life fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland.

For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice, Psalm 63:7.

The lyrics of Dig are symbolic of subtle compromises that people make in life. This often begins with a lazy lie until it escalates as you dig a hole of deception that you often fall into. Unfortunately, stubborn people tend to keep digging this hole until bad choices end up becoming a lifestyle. May the lyrics of Dig awaken your conscience so that any bad habits may be conquered by the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Purify Your Heart with Sincere Affection

Sometimes the truth that a friend shares strikes a nerve. Such is the case of one Old Testament prophet who reveals a painful truth in Jeremiah 17:9. When your heart becomes open to the possibility that you’re not as nice as you should be, your soul becomes open to changing for the better. This is the message that Peter has for a teachable spirit: purify your heart with sincere affection.

Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [HolySpirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart, 1 Peter 1:22.

Purification usually involves some sort of filtration process. Whether this is accomplished through cleansing, decontaminating or sterilizing the imperfections, purifying anything takes time. According to one of Jesus’ disciples, purifying your heart is based upon your degree of obedience to God’s commands. As the Holy Spirit convicts Christians for any wrongdoing, your heart begins the purification process.

So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery]. [As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins], James 4:7-9.

Yet, to achieve sincere affection, Christians must seek the Theological Virtues of hope, faith, and love. According to C.S. Lewis, Cardinal Virtues are available to anyone, but Theological Virtues are only accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 13:13. Actions and faith must work hand and hand so that hearts will be purified as the fruits of this process develop into sincere affection.

by Jay Mankus

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