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Tag Archives: the spirit of God

A Stranger in the House of God

Unless individuals were attending a local synagogue in the first century, church goers met inside a home or outside at a local park. While thousands of people regularly gathered to hear Jesus speak and teach, worshiping God with strangers can be awkward. If the person standing next to you is extremely jubilant or you’ve never heard the song that everyone else is singing, you may feel a little out of place.

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to dine with him, and He went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume), Luke 7:36-37.

This is how one woman felt while Jesus dined with a group of Pharisees. As these men were reclining at a dining room table following their meal, an adulterous woman approached Jesus. It’s unclear if this woman came to confess the sins of her past, but she was suddenly overwhelmed by emotions. Perhaps, the Spirit of God prompted her to wash Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume that she was able to purchase due to her unwholesome occupation.

And standing behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with [her] tears; and she wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet [affectionately] and anointed them with the ointment (perfume). 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him—for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin), Luke 7:38-39.

Despite being a stranger in a house of God, all this woman wanted was to be with Jesus. It didn’t matter what all these men thought or that she was throwing away this valuable ointment. Whether you’re on vacation or simply visiting a new church, when you come to worship God it’s all about Jesus. The next time you feel like a stranger in the house of God, remember the act of this woman so that you will develop the right mindset to worship God.

by Jay Mankus

The Sound of Worship

Worship is the expression of reverence and adoration for God. This celebration is usually held inside a building. However, in this age of the Coronavirus, places of worship have been forced to be creative. In those states where lock downs still exist, worship services have been moved outside. Although most properties don’t have the luxury of a natural amphitheater, some worship teams have taken to the streets.

Not only that, but can anyone understand the spreadings of the clouds or the thunderings of His pavilion? – Job 36:29

In the passage above, Job compares the sound of worship to a storm growing in the distance. As clouds darken, filled with thunder and lightning, spectators watch from a distance, amazed by this brewing sight of nature. While rain in the New Testament is symbolic of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the Old Testament uses rain as a way to achieve truth. As voices cry out in public today, the sound of worship touches hearts.

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the heavens of His power! Praise Him for His mighty acts; praise Him according to the abundance of His greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and [single or group] dance; praise Him with stringed and wind instruments or flutes! Praise Him with resounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) – Psalm 150:1-6

The last Psalm in the Bible highlights the sound of worship. As a worship leader sets the tone, praise can spread like a wildfire, from one soul to another. Meanwhile, as the Spirit of God moves, enthusiasm to raise the volume intensifies. When you add instruments to this equation, souls awaken to clap, dance and shake their bodies to exalt the Great I Am. This is what can happen as souls hear the sound of worship.

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual Quake

Beginning in John 14, Jesus reveals specific details about the Spirit of God. Seven words are selected to describe this spiritual entity in verse 16.  Helper, comforter, advocate, intercessor, counselor, strengthener and standby reveal what this promised spiritual guide will be able to do for those who believe. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit takes on the presence of a violent wind and quake.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit]. And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other [btongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately], Acts 2:1-4.

A first century doctor chooses some interesting words to describe this foreign object. Like an unidentified flying object, the Holy Spirit appears as tongues of fire falling from heaven. Oddly enough, there was no fear or running away of these flames. Rather, apostles, disciples and godly individuals were immediately transformed. In the process, Hooked on Phonics was not necessary as God’s Spirit enabled these believers to communicate to strangers in different languages.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage, Acts 4:31.

After everything calmed down, Peter stood up to explain what had just happened. Acts 2:38 explains how eyewitnesses of this event can receive this same Spirit.  According to Peter, repenting and baptism must occur before access to the Holy Spirit is granted. Two chapters later Peter and John refuse to stop talking about Jesus. This spiritual stand triggers a spiritual earthquake.  According to Luke, this shaking was merely a sign of God’s presence.  If your life is currently void of any spiritual fruit, perhaps its time to follow in the footsteps of the apostles so that the Holy Spirit will quake to awaken your soul.

by Jay Mankus

Even When It Hurts

Abuse, damage, injuries and pain are synonymous with hurt.  When the course of life turns in your favor, contentment, happiness and joy are expected.  However, as the tables turn, sending unexpected storms and trials, the true nature of a human being is unveiled.  In the heat of the moment, how will you respond to adversity?  One of the strangest stories of the Bible’s highlights this point, doing what’s even when it hurt.

Jephthah was a mighty warrior, following in the footsteps of Gideon, Judges 11:1.  Jephthah was moved by the Spirit of God prior to a battle with the Ammonites, prompted to make a vow to the Lord.  According to Judges 11:30-31, Jephthah promised to sacrifice the first living creature he came across on his way back home.  Perhaps speaking before thinking things through, this victorious leader didn’t see a soul until his one and only daughter came out to greet him.  Yes, this passage seems like a scene from Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does,” Judges 11:34-37.  Nonetheless, this is one of those head scratching verses of the Bible that illustrates keeping your promises, even when it hurts.

The story of Jephthah lives on today as a painful reminder for those make vows without contemplating the price to be paid.  David likely eludes to Jephthah in Psalm 15:4, emphasizing the importance of doing what you say.  Solomon also appears to be moved by this principle, adding the thought process one should go through before making any vows, Ecclesiastes 5:4-6.  In an age where many children have lost faith in their parents, letting them down time after time, make sure you keep your word even when it hurts.

by Jay Mankus

Quiet Waters

Words like silent, tranquil and undisturbed seem so far away from reality.  While America was sleeping, peace has been replaced by violence, slipped into minds full of mush through video games.  Those who are too busy to care, indulge or play, find their amusement is movies, pop culture and the latest car chase on television.  A life full of distractions, interruptions and noise drowns out the serenity of God’s quiet waters.

This promise of Psalm 23:2 may be a flashback from the image portrayed in Psalm 1:1-3.  Those blessed souls who are able to outran the wicked, flee from the presence of careless sinners and avoid joining a crowd full of mockers find their way through the jungle of life.  Beyond the temptations, lies a bubbling brook, full of love, joy and peace.  This living water offered by Jesus in John 4:10 produces conifers, trees that stay green 365 days a year.  Prosperity is like the morning dew, a subtle reminder of God’s presence in this sacred place.

Once you experience this hidden spring, its hard to find enjoyment in the ways of the world.  Sure, temporary pleasures abound, yet nothing satisfies, quickly losing its allure.  The old Southwest Airlines’ commercials have it partially right.  Yes, you’ve got to get away.  However, where you need to arrive is upon the shores of God’s quiet waters.  Like Kokomo, its a mythical destination that only a few find, Matthew 7:13-14.  May the spirit of God, guide you, step by step, until you reach the healing pool, John 5:1-7.  It doesn’t matter why you came or what state you’re in, as long as you believe entering quiet waters will leave you transformed, once and for all.  Get fulfilled today, Matthew 5:6.

by Jay Mankus

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