RSS Feed

Tag Archives: the Sabbath

Centered and Resting in God

The term centered refers to an individual who is well balanced, confident, and serene. Meanwhile, resting is the act of ceasing work in order to relax, refresh oneself, and recover. In the book of Genesis, God laid out a plan for Israelites to rest once a week. Rather than lay in bed all day, the Sabbath is a day of worship where believers are centered on and place their trust in the Lord that God is in control.

Through Him you believe in (adhere to, rely on) God, Who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him honor and glory, so that your faith and hope are [centered and rest] in God, 1 Peter 1:21.

One of my resolutions each year is to spend more time with God. While reading the Bible and prayer doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have a great day, it will improve your chances. I find that if I start my day by opening up the Bible first thing in the morning before I do anything else, my perspective is centered on God. Perhaps, this is what Jesus experienced in Mark 1:35-38, inspired to follow the Spirit’s calling.

For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors [f]peculiarly His own. 11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell], Hebrews 4:10-11.

As someone who weekly struggles with getting a full night of sleep, resting plays an integral role in my productivity. Anytime I wake up following a great night of sleep, I’m more energized and ready to go. Yet, if I stay up too late and barely get any sleep, I don’t get much done; if anything at all. This is why it’s important not only to be centered on God, but to rest in his strength as well, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

by Jay Mankus


The Tyranny of Things of Space

If you study Old English. tyranny is an expression used to describe a cruel and oppressive government. Whenever people in authority exert undemocratic rule, employ an unreasonable amount of force or suppress the rights of their citizens, rebellion, revolts and uprisings follow.  People who survive war or escape tyranny tend to turn to the Bible for answers in life.  Perhaps, this may explain why the Bible is the greatest selling book of all time.

“No other book of any kind ever written in English has ever so affected the whole life of a people,” Theodore Roosevelt in 1911.

Theodore Roosevelt is one of four presidents whose face is on Mount Rushmore.  The other three presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.  After his tenure as the 26th president of the United States, 1901-1909, Roosevelt made a profound statement about the Bible.  While the context of this quote is unclear, Roosevelt understood the power that the living Word of God has on the ability to transform human lives.

“Six days a week we live under the tyranny of the things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time,” Abraham Joshua Heschel from The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man, 1951.

Forty years later, Abraham Heschel explored the Bible to make the connection between freedom and the Sabbath.  Depending upon your work schedule, life is filled with monotony, the mundane and tedious tasks that typical occupations require.  Thus, the tyranny of the things in space is a human being running through the rat race called life without any purpose and reason.  However, when you apply biblical principles to keep the Sabbath holy, becoming attuned to God, helps souls see how everything else in life is so insignificant.  When faith is exercised daily, the Sabbath isn’t merely one day of the week, its a lifestyle that enable Christians to escape the tyranny of the things of space.

by Jay Mankus

R and R

R & R is a military phrase made popular by the 1970 television series MASH.  This abbreviation is slang for rest and recuperation.  In the show, nurses and surgeons would receive weekend passes throughout the year, usually spending time relaxing and recreating.  This break from the stress of life provided individuals a chance to unwind, before returning back to work.

For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works, Hebrews 4:4.

Perhaps, its time for busy Americans to apply this biblical principle.  Although, its hard to imagine the Creator of life needing to rest, God created the Sabbath for us.  In His infinite wisdom, the Lord knew the wear and tear a week takes on individuals.  Thus, the soul needs a break, to refuel on fellowship, prayer and worship.  Without taking a day to recharge, people will eventually, crash from sheer exhaustion.

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish, Jeremiah 31:25.

One day, Jesus was disappointed by the lack of faith in those places where he performed miracles.  After lashing out at those who failed to believe, Jesus makes a plea to those in the audience who were hurting, tired or weary.  Within Matthew 11:28-30, the Lord lays out a blue print for finding rest.  First, don’t be ashamed to come to Jesus with your excess baggage.  Second, let go of your burdens, by laying them upon the altar of grace.  Finally, lean on the Holy Spirit to revive your soul.  In this, I pray that you will experience R & R.

by Jay Mankus


The Emotions of Praise

Depending upon what church, temple or mosque you attend, an increasing number of people are reserved, afraid of letting others know what’s inside of them.  Meanwhile, Pharisees still exist in most places of worship, putting on a show for others to see, Matthew 6:5.  Therefore, when you enter a house of praise where emotions are on display as a genuine act of worship, outsiders struggle to accept or embrace this movement.

Music causes unique styles of expression like individuals moved to toe tap, gradually turning their bodies into human tambourines.  Others begin to snap their fingers and clap their hands.  Those with rhythm may follow the beat, dancing and swaying side to side.  When touched by the lyrics, one might lift their hands high, closing their eyes to heighten their focus on God.  Tears often fall as you reach this stage of worship, moving some to fall to their knees or bow at the altar.

While numerous churches are spiritually dead today, void of these emotions of praise, a remnant remains alive and well.  The sons of Korah highlight acts of praise in Psalm 47 including clapping hands, shouts of praise and cries of joy.  The moment the human soul approaches the throne of grace, Hebrews 4:16, with a humble heart, the emotions of praise break out.  This act of worship is what you offer up to God on the Sabbath.  You may bring a tithe or appreciate the biblical message, yet the emotions of praise is where you meet and experience the presence of God.

Have you ever been moved by the Holy Spirit to let your guard down?  Please share a story of your own emotions of praise.

by Jay Mankus

The Secret to My Writing Success

Today marks Express Yourself 4 Him’s 500th blog.  What began as a hobby, something to sharpen my writing skills has developed into an internet ministry.  To celebrate this day, I am going to unveil 10 Biblical principles which have guided, inspired and motivated me to express my faith in Christ.

1. Don’t Force the Issue.  Sometimes in life, people panic like Sarai, trying to build a legacy on their own, Genesis 16:1-2.  With this in mind, I have begun each day with an open mind, ready to let Scripture and the Holy Spirit guide each word I type.  Whenever a blog doesn’t flow naturally, I stop, wait a while and either start over or go in a different direction.

2. Follow the Convictions of your Heart.  My best pieces are often conceived with a thought while sleeping at night.  If I don’t have a pad of paper nearby, I try to visualize each paragraph in my mind.  Whenever I sense a moving in my spirit, like a prompting on my heart, I get up in the middle of the night to complete these convictions before they vanish.

3. When the Spirit moves, keep Writing.  Writers block is something all writers must face and conquer.  Therefore, when God anoints me with words to write, I try to maximize these days.  It’s not uncommon to write 2-3 blogs if moved in one sitting.  As long as time permits, I try to tie all loose ends, bringing to completion each blog until I sense a peace from the Holy Spirit.

4. Find a Solitary Place.  Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek recounts times he spent at a local Burger King in Michigan, sitting in a back corner booth, listening for God to guide his thoughts for future sermons.  Before I attended his church, I practiced this while in college, making for great study sessions.  Today, I use restaurants with free refills, off hours when possible, allowing me to stay awake, disciplined and focused.  This practice has led to the creation of 15 songs, hundreds of poems and a complete movie script.

5. Always Keep a Journal Nearby.  Every time I read the Bible, I write down anything that strikes a cord with my soul.  In addition, I underline powerful passages or jot down a title for potential blogs.  While watching movies or sermons on television, I am like an eager student, writing down each important point I hear.  On the days when I struggle to come up with an ideal to blog about, my journal usually triggers memories that result in new pieces.  Without this method, I would not be able to write day after day.

6. Don’t practice Isogesis.  There is a temptation at times to read too much into a passage or chapter of the Bible.  Thus, isogesis means to read things into scripture which is not supported by the actual context.  To be theologically sharp, one must examine the Bible, line by line, verse by verse and chapter by chapter, known as hermeneutics.  Though I do receive rhemas, words from the Lord, from time to time, I try not to force my beliefs into a specific passage unless I am certain of it.

7. Stay in Tune with the Holy Spirit.  When I lose my hunger and fervor for the Lord, my connection with the Holy Spirit becomes temporarily disconnected.  As a result, some blogs aren’t as powerful or well received.  However, the moment I practice Galatians 5:25, ideas flow, powerful truths come forth and writing becomes natural, like I was born to do this.

8. Use the Sabbath as Inspiration.  After my first 6 months of blogging, I realized how difficult it was to write with the same passion daily.  Therefore, I began to rely on sermons from the Trinity Broadcasting Network and my home church in Delaware to develop Express Yourself 4 Him.  By taking the first 15-30 minutes after returning from church, I have been able to stay a few days ahead, using Sunday as an outline for the rest of the week.

9. Be Discreet.  Being a teacher for a decade, has helped me maintain care, tact and prudence while blogging, 1 Peter 3:15.  It only takes one ill-timed word to create an internet firestorm.  Therefore, it is essential to review every paragraph, think about how your words will be received and adjust each line to  promote diplomacy.  The Bible will convict hearts, my responsibility is to weave truths from the word of God into each piece I write.

10. Be Original.  There are days when I throw away ideas because there are not unique enough or don’t provide an original perspective.  Current events are great aids to overcome this dilemma.  Yet, the secret to my success is striving to become like a modern day John Wesley.  When I attach theology to writing, using the Bible to answer problems in life, people are drawn to the Word of God, not me, Romans 10:17.

I want to thank all my readers for their prayers and support.  I can see 1000 in the near future.  Until then, I urge everyone to fan into flame that gift or talent God has given you, 2 Timothy 1:6.  Don’t be afraid to express yourself 4 Him, Acts 4:29!

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: