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Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Adding Love to the Law

From an early age, the idea of boundaries is a turn off.  At birth, human nature introduces a curiosity similar to that which led Eve to break God’s lone law, eating from the Tree of Knowledge.  As a parent, condemnation comes naturally, a common response to children who disobey you.  Yet, Jesus reminds a large crowd during the first century that love should be applied to Jewish law.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? – Matthew 5:46-47

Jesus uses common sense to drive home this point.  Pagans lived by a different set of standards.  Jews were expected by God to be set apart, striving to apply biblical principles.  Yet, if a Christian’s love is no different from a Pagan, what’s the point.  Therefore, individuals should make it their ambition to add love to the law.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me, 1 Corinthians 13:11.

The only problem is this goal requires maturity as love doesn’t come naturally.  This fruit of the Spirit is an acquired trait nurtured by the Holy Spirit.  At some point people have to grow up by developing a will to love.  Hanging around like minded people, growing in your knowledge of the Bible and practicing prayer is a good place to start.  However, if you want to fulfill Jesus’ request, make sure your feelings are held in check, sanctified by love.

by Jay Mankus

Skeletons of Your Past

Despite how perfect some individuals may act, behave and live out on a daily basis, everyone possesses imperfections.  These blemishes often result in a dark side with secret addictions, bad habits or unthinkable acts that would shock the average person.  This collection of scars accumulate into skeletons of your past.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us, 1 John 1:8-10.

There was a time in American history where honesty was the best policy.  However, sometimes revealing a skeleton or two from your past can do permanent damage.  Recently. Pete Rose admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a minor back in the 1970’s.  This confession sent shockwaves across the country, igniting outrage throughout social media.  Based upon the comments posted, it’s as if this was the worst act ever committed.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, Galatians 5:16.

The second aspect of confession is taking the steps toward the road to recovery.  Perhaps, this may explain the criticism of Rose over his lack of contrition for his previous transgressions.  Thus, if you want to experience healing from the skeletons of your past, you must learn to walk according to the Holy Spirit.  Based upon the apostle Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will provide a way out when temptations arrive.  In your journey toward healing, may the Lord guide you out of bondage to find freedom in the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

by Jay Mankus

A Life Void of Substance

Substance can be defined as a particular kind of matter with uniform properties.  Yet, something as simple as water can be labeled as boring.  Subsequently, human nature draws individuals toward that which is intoxicating or stimulating.  Those who lack this substance can get lost, disappearing from sight, hidden by strong personalities.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot,” Matthew 5:13.

As someone born with a severe speech impediment, I have never been known to be eloquent.  If you don’t possess this quality, it’s essential to add flavor to the lives of those whom you meet.  However, if you lose your passion for a career, hobbies or life in general, there is a tendency to become stale, adding little to daily conversations.  Unfortunately, this is where I currently find myself, a life void of substance.

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent, Exodus 14:14.

The times when I become alive are often influenced by my hot button issues.  These topics allow me to express my knowledge, love and perspective.  When conversations do not provide an opportunity to open out, there is another source which adds flavor.  Whether it’s opening up the Bible, fellowship with believers or times of prayer, God unveils spiritual insight to those listening.  Therefore, if you find yourself on the verge of a life void of substance, fuel up on the Holy Spirit to add flavor to the lives of those you interact with.

by Jay Mankus

The Scattering

Leave it to adults to make the simple things in life complex.  Some where along the way, age has a way of corrupting the innocence of youth.  Time tends to change people for the worse.  Subsequently, the joy of life often loses its luster, replaced by hardened hearts that result in misery.  This is where the scattering begins.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, Ecclesiastes 3:5.

When individuals seek to expand their comfort zone, grow spiritually or engage in learning new things, this development does not go unnoticed by others.  These areas of interest provide direction, guidance and vision for each new day.  However, when these practices are postponed, stop and cease to exist, a subtle transition occurs.  Even those with good intentions may be shocked one day when you wake up, wondering how far you have strayed from these habits.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters,” Luke 11:23.

I think this is what Jesus means by the verse above.  Human beings were created to gather, celebrating and sharing the good news of a Messiah who can save and forgive you from your sins.  Discipline, hard work and worldly pursuits only go so far.  Those who try to live life on their own can only fake happiness for so long until the void in your heart leaves you feeling empty again and again.  Possessing a “what’s in it for me mindset” results in the scattering of mankind.  Yet, the cure to this condition is found in the Holy Spirit, leading you to begin gathering for Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

2000

Since the first professional baseball team was formed in 1869, 254 Major League Baseball players have collected 2000 hits during their career.  While certain stats were not held early on in it’s history, 18 National Basketball Association members have amassed over 2000 rebounds before retiring.  In the 97 years of professional football, only 7 NFL running backs have rushed for 2000 yards in a season.  Meanwhile, only one player in the history of the National Hockey League, Wayne Gretzky has accumulated over 2000 total points in their career.  Today, I have joined a special group with the posting of my 2000th blog at Express Yourself 4Him.

In view of this achievement, I wanted to reply to some of the most common questions shared with me as comments over the past five years.  First, I chose Word Press as my sight for blogging due to recommendations of a few close friends with established blogs back in 2012.  While I haven’t paid the additional $25 to upgrade Express Yourself 4Him, I am close to entering into a relationship with a vendor that prompt me to professionalize this site.

For those of you are new to this blog, I was inspired to create a spiritual journal like the theologian Augustine.  Following two years of seminary classes, I was struck by how Augustine regularly sat on his back porch, staring at his garden.  This time of reflection gave birth to his impact on theological advances through a collection of books left behind as his legacy.  While I have no desire to go back into full time youth ministry, I pray that my own insights on current events may help those striving to become more like Christ daily.

If you want to start your own blog, there are three things to consider.  First, focus on a specific area of expertise where you can develop a following based upon your knowledge.  Second, set aside a time or day of the week where you plan a series of blogs.  When I first started, I suffered from periods of writers block, lacking direction, ideas and topics.  On Sunday, I watch a few sermons before attending church, taking notes in the journal next to my bed.  When my eyes behave, I try to read chapters about issues that I want to know more about.  In addition, I use sticky notes when I am not home to jot any ideas when the Holy Spirit speaks to me.  Finally, if you want to persevere as a blogger, you must be disciplined, putting aside apathy to press on to publish blogs.

Many of you have urged me to write longer blogs which I will do when I feel compelled.  However, after working with a PhD from Penn State, Dr. Vito, I discovered through trial and error that three paragraphs is ideal for the average reader.  Anything shorter doesn’t drive home a point and by expanding a paragraph or two, I tend to lose people’s attention.  Thus, unless God changes my mind, I will continue with my current format.  One last thing before I say goodbye for the day, always remember that life is an adventure.  The more bloggers are able to paint a vivid picture, new followers will come.  Don’t get caught up with numbers.  Rather, let quality writing do your talking.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Vessel of Healing

When the term vessel comes up in a conversation, I immediately visualize a cruise ship, sail boat or the SS Minnow from Gilligan’s Island reruns.  While I have never experienced the amenities of a luxurious cruise, this vessel takes you where you want to go.  Sure, the weather may not always cooperate, but the goal is to arrive at each selected destination.

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work, 2 Timothy 2:21.

When it comes to healing, the Bible refers to vessels as a vehicle for change.  Thus, spiritual vessels must avoid the popular stops and distractions the majority tend to visit.  Jesus uses the analogy of a broad road that attracts a large crowd of people.  However, in the end, this place is empty, void of any permanent satisfaction.

For thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the pillars, the sea, the stands, and the rest of the vessels that are left in this city, Jeremiah 27:19.

Unfortunately, if you want to be a vessel of healing, you must accept the fact that this will be a lonely journey.  Jeremiah is nicknamed the weeping prophet as many of the messages he received from God to convey to Israel were negative.  The truth hurts as Jack Nicholson famously states as Colonel Jessup, “you can’t handle the truth.”  Vessels of healing must ignore the temptation to be popular by faithfully obeying the Holy Spirit.  In a world desperate for leadership, healing and truth, step out in faith as the Lord is waiting for A Few Good Men, to become vessels of healing.

by Jay Mankus

Giving God Some Space

When I was in high school, it wasn’t uncommon for a girl to tell her boy friend that she needed some space.  What girls were trying to say to guys like me was she needed time away to clear her mind.  Somehow I was suffocating this relationship and freedom was necessary to let this individual breathe.  Unfortunately, this conversation usually meant the beginning of the end, a nice way to say I’m breaking up with you.

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes, James 4:14.

If you apply this concept to God, countless individuals express this with their own actions, not making time for the Lord daily.  However, this assumes that people actually took time to invite God into their lives initially.  As churches close down, go out of business or are forced to join another congregations to survive, it appears that Jesus is low on our priority list.  Instead giving God some space to work within your heart, soul and mind, busy schedules drown out the Holy Spirit’s whisper to draw near.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, 2 Peter 3:8.

Last weekend I heard a local missionary speak about giving God same space.  What she meant by this expression is opening your calendar to allow God to speak.  Whether it’s a day, week or month, stop what you are doing and begin listening for the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life that I ignore God completely.  Christians can’t expect to spend eternity in heaven if they haven’t invested any time on earth storing up heavenly treasures.  In view of this fear, get up a little earlier, stay up later or get away over the weekend to give God some space to invigorate your soul.

by Jay Mankus