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Tag Archives: faith

When the Spirit Left the Church

Most seminaries and theological institutions make a distinction between the Holy Spirit poured out on the day of Pentecost from that which exists today.  Based upon the amount of healings, miracles and spiritual revivals that takes place in the book of Acts, scholars refer to this time period as a special anointing.  Sometime after A.D. 300, the Holy Spirit experienced by apostles and disciples left the church.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them, Acts 2:4.

The answer for why the Holy Spirit vanished from the face of the earth can be attributed to the influence and reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.  Prior to his conversion early in the third century, the Christian church was led by apostles, elders and laymen.  Despite increasing Roman persecution, faith flourished until some of Constantine’s edicts went into law.  One decree banned home churches from meeting.  Instead congregations could only meet in worship centers built by Constantine.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness, 2 Peter 1:3.

In an attempt to Christianize the world, Constantine tied pagan holidays and symbols to Christian celebrations.  While his motives likely had good intentions, this decision perverted and tainted sound theological doctrine.  Subsequently, ungodly beliefs that developed and those formed stunted the power of the Holy Spirit.  The presence of healings, miracles and radical transformation slowly faded from existence in the years following A.D. 300.  Despite these facts, the Bible talks about a pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the last days.  Although the Holy Spirit left the church initially, it doesn’t mean a spirit of revival can’t return.  May the Lord hear the prayers of the saints by bringing back the Spirit of Pentecost.

by Jay Mankus

God of the Impossible

If you follow, read or watch the news, it’s hard to remain positive.  Like the down trodden in this life, hope can disappear for extended periods of time.  Thus, many are left alone, stuck in an impossible situation praying for a miracle.

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you,” Matthew 17:20.

For some the story of David and Goliath is nothing more than a fairy tale, a figment of one’s imagination.  Yet, history conveys the truth found in the Old Testament, 1 Samuel 17.  While David’s size was an obstacle, a midget compared to the giant mocking God on a daily basis, his experience as a shepherd prepared him for this battle.  Against all odds, David shot down Goliath with his sling shot opening the door to become king of Israel.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father,” John 14:12.

When Jesus traveled throughout the Middle East during the first century, doubt was prevalent.  Doing the impossible was a dream blocked by the mountain known as reality.  Thus, Jesus found it necessary to regularly talk about the power of faith and belief.  As Jesus began to cure, heal and perform miracles, the impossible seemed to be within reach.  Therefore, don’t let doubt keep you trapped.  Rather, cry out of Jesus so that the God of the impossible will return to perform another miracle.

by Jay Mankus

 

Keep Playing Until the Whistle Blows

In game 6 of this year’s Stanley Cup Finals, the Nashville Predators had a goal disallowed.  Blocked by the goalie, a referee could not see a loose puck and inadvertently blew his whistle.  According to the rules, as soon as the whistle is blown the play is dead even if the puck was loose.  Unfortunately, this call prevented a 1-0 lead and ended Nashville’s chance to force a game 7.  The whistle in sports is like a supreme judge, overriding the initial call.

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

If you have ever participated in sports, perhaps you have played for an old school coach.  These individuals are usually hands on, going through all the hypothetical situations players will encounter over the course of a season.  Relying on a practice makes perfect mentality, teammates sometimes have to repeat a play over and over until they get it right.  At the time this may seem unpleasant, yet in the end you and your team will be ready for anything.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 2 Peter 1:3.

Outside of sports, it’s also important to keep living until the whistle blows.  If you don’t, you may be tempted to goof off or become lazy which leads to an unproductive life.  The passage above suggests that after you have accepted Christ into your heart by faith, God provides everything you need for life in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, don’t come up with reasons why you can’t do this or that.  Rather, live end day until the clock strikes twelve so that you know you gave your very best each day.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Fellowship of Suffering

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.  Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed, Luke 22:59-60.

While individuals may not want to admit it, there is a lot of Peter within most human beings.  When questioned by someone like Jesus, its easy to become defensive proclaiming, “I’d never do that.”  Yet, when push comes to shove human nature longs for acceptance.  Thus, few people ever join the fellowship of suffering.

Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go,” John 21:18.

When Jesus witnessed Peter’s final denial, this event likely cut to his heart.  Usually a big talker, Peter’s fear of persecution revealed a major flaw within his character.  Based upon the words within the gospel of John, it appears that this betrayal of Jesus haunted Peter for years.  Nonetheless, Jesus shows the way toward the fellowship of suffering, letting go and allowing God to lead you where you don’t want to go.

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 1 Peter 3:17.

Following a moment of reconciliation with Jesus, Peter begins to enter a special group.  Unless you are willing to endure hardships for doing what is right, the fellowship of suffering is unattainable.  Jesus’ brother James refers to embracing trials by considering each attack on your faith a joy.  Whether it was maturity or a spiritual transformation, Peter gave up his life to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  Prior to his death, Peter demanded to be crucified upside down claiming he was unworthy to die in the same manner of his Savior.  May this blog inspire you to follow in Peter’s footsteps by joining the Fellowship of Suffering.

by Jay Mankus

 

Remember Where You Came From

Whether your life has turned out to be a success, disappointment or some where in between, its always important to remember where you came from.  Depending upon how you were raised, you’ve likely developed stereotypes about certain occupations, places or people.  Over time these views will either be reinforced or shattered.  Whatever happens make sure you remain humble so you don’t miss out on meeting special people.

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it; Galatians 1:13.

Paul was a religious zealot who initially persecuted and gave the order to kill the apostle Stephen.  Thus, after his conversion to Christ many were hesitant to believe his faith was real.  This backlash inspired Galatians 1, a summary of his testimony.  It wasn’t until Paul began his missionary journeys when fellow Christians began to accept and embrace him as a genuine believer.

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, Galatians 1:15.

While my past isn’t as radical as Paul, I still have issues to overcome.  Years of stuttering stunted my communication skills and ability to draw close to others.  Periods of depression still cause me to withdraw at times, wandering away from the people I love.  Yet, because of God’s grace, I have hope for the future.  Despite my own imperfections, God sent His one and only Son to die for my sins.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down without accepting God’s free gift of eternal life.  When you remember where you came from, you will likely find a sinner saved by God’s grace.

by Jay Mankus

Unlikely Heroes

Hollywood has a way of portraying films that appear to be genuine, but add an unlikely hero to appeal to the masses.  Although this may draw tears from some viewers, others may think quietly to themselves, “yeah right.”  Teenagers tend to be truth detectors, not afraid to be blunt by cutting through the crap in life that exists.  Despite this painful truth, every once in a while unlikely heroes do come forth.

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies, Hebrews 11:31.

One of these which pops up in history is a prostitute from Jericho named Rahab.  I guess you can say she was the Dolly Parton or her day except her whore house wasn’t in Texas.  Nonetheless, God needed someone on the inside.  While her occupation doesn’t fit the typical servant of God, this testimony reveals that the Lord can use anyone to fulfill His will.

And Salmon the father of Bo’az by Rahab, and Bo’az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, Matthew 1:5.

Rahab may not have done much to receive the honor of being selected as a member of the Hall of Faith.  Yet, she kept her word and held up her end of the bargain.  This simple act of faith saved her families life and opened the door for becoming a distant relative of Jesus.  Therefore, if you want to be an unlikely hero in the future, let faith guide you to the place where God can use you the most.

by Jay Mankus

The Paralysis of Sin

Terms like debilitating, immobility and incapacity describe symptoms of paralysis.  Those individuals whose lives are turned upside down by accidents, disease or extreme events are forced to go with life with several new obstacles to overcome.  Unfortunately, paralysis can attack souls through the presence and spread of sin.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate, Romans 7:15.

The apostle Paul highlights how sin impacts individual actions.  Similar to an addiction, bad habit or compulsive behavior, the ability to maintain self-control is lost.  This phenomena is not exempt for Christians as anyone who plays with fire in the form of temptation will eventually get burned.  Thus, even a missionary like Paul was paralyzed by sin.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin, James 4:17.

One of the people who has made the greatest impact on my life is Skip Wilkins.  After becoming a high school All-American in 4 sports, Skip was paralyzed while water skiing before his senior year.  When colleges heard of his accident, all 2000 plus full scholarships were rescinded.  Skip’s faith helped him overcome this setback and eventually became a motivational speaker.  If it wasn’t for Skip Wilkins testimony, I still might be paralyzed by sin.  Yet, because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, you too can be set free from sin as there are no wheel chairs in heaven.

by Jay Mankus