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Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Are You Still Sleeping?

From time to time, my soul is filled with an overwhelming sense of conviction.  This guilt comes from spiritual naps, periods of my life where I fell asleep to what God wanted me to do, say or stand up for.  The Bible refers to this state as lukewarm.  Past generations used words such as wishy washy to explain how lame my faith can be at times.  To be bluntly honest,  I am fighting a losing battle, wrestling to stay above rising flood waters pulling me under.

And He came back and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Were you unable to keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep [actively] watching and praying so that you do not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the body is weak,” Mark 14:37-38.

No one is immune to sleeping as the human body is hard to control.  This requires an intent focus, like a disciplined athlete training for their next competition.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for someone to slip into merely going through the motions.  Whether you are talking about prayer, reading the Bible or worship, these practices can become a mundane event, void of spiritual fire or zeal.  I guess you can say this is where I am, still sleeping, unable to awaken from this spiritual funk.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

According to the apostle Paul, those who find themselves in this spiritual state need to cry out to the Holy Spirit for help.  Instead of babbling the same old powerless prayer, ask God to intercede through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I’m tied of doing the same lame thing, hoping for a better outcome.  Therefore, join me in an awakening of the soul to once again put into practice the word of God.  If you’re still sleeping like me, its time to get up, Luke 21:36.

by Jay Mankus

The Size of Your Harvest

The term harvest can be found in ancient Egyptian calendars.  Based upon this geographic location in the Middle East, the harvest season coincides with the low water portion of each summer.  The final season on the lunar calendar, the harvest begins immediately following the season of Emergence.  While the weather doesn’t always cooperate with modern calendars, a typical harvest begins in the Spring and concludes each fall.  However, this too varies depending upon the crop planted by farmers.

Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed]. Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift], 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.

According to the apostle Paul, spiritual harvests are influenced by your degree of giving.  Blessings are proportionally tied to what you put into life or the lives of others.  Those who are consistent, disciplined and work hard will be rewarded with a plentiful harvest.  Meanwhile, the lazy, lethargic and inconsistent workers will only get what they put into their trade.  Thus, you can’t expect good results when half hearted attempts are made on a daily basis.

The one who is taught the word [of God] is to share all good things with his teacher [contributing to his spiritual and material support]. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap. For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life, Galatians 6:6-8.

The size of your harvest depends upon two factors.  First, your willingness to give of your resources, talents and time.  God doesn’t want people to experience regret.  Cheerful givers begin with an acceptable and reasonable tithe with an expectation that as God blesses you this amount with increase.  The second aspect is based upon your motives.  Are you self seeking, expecting something in return?  Or is your inspiration for giving driven by the Holy Spirit?  In the end, hoarders receive their harvest on earth.  Those who seek God and his righteousness first will be blown away when the Lord opens the storehouse to heaven, Malachi 3:10.  May 2018 yield a mighty harvest.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A Solution to Avoid Becoming Side Tracked

While there have been many discerning scholars, famous philosophers and biblical prophets throughout history, I don’t think anyone could image how social media is influencing modern times.  Whether its a pod cast, Instagram post, tweet or You Tube video going viral, every day is like a circus, filled with individuals seeking attention, fame and fortune.  Becoming side tracked from what you need to get accomplished daily if you have a cellular device in your hand or pockets makes staying focused even harder.  Just as curiosity led to Eve’s down fall in the Garden of Eden, Americans are amusing themselves toward a slow spiritual death through a state of constant distractions.

No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve, 2 Timothy 2:4.

The apostle Paul writes about daily distractions during the first century.  The mentality necessary to avoid getting emotional caught up in the affairs of society requires military readiness taught in the armed forces.  An active soldiers’ main concern is carrying out and fulfilling their commanding officers’ instructions.  From a spiritual perspective, Paul is encouraging believers to focus on serving God.  Romans 12:1 is symbolic of beginning and completing boot camp, pushing your body to its limits.  As you dedicate your life to God, the Holy Spirit begins to reveal the Lord’s will for life which is phase two.  The more focused your are on serving Jesus, the less concerned you will be with daily events beyond your control.

And if anyone competes as an athlete [in competitive games], he is not crowned [with the wreath of victory] unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer [who labors to produce crops] ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Think over the things I am saying [grasp their application], for the Lord will grant you insight and understanding in everything, 2 Timothy 2:5-7.

The apostle Paul finishes his illustration with an athlete and farmer.  While different, the more each puts into their trade, the skies the limit.  Sports is based upon determining who is the best through a series of competitions during a defined season.  Meanwhile, farmers must work if they want food.  If each treats their land like a prized possession, the outcome will likely be positive.  If you reap what you sow is an accurate principle, then every individual has a choice, to seize each moment or waste your life away.  Sure, deciphering what God’s will can take a life time, but if you develop the resolve to press on, the promise of 2 Timothy 2:7 can be a reality.  As I struggle and wrestle with overcoming the bad news reported each day, join me in a venture to avoid becoming side tracked anymore.

by Jay Mankus

Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt

A friend who is a local pastor in Newark has a mantra that he repeats once a month, “hurt people hurt other people.”  Those who receive verbal attacks in the form of negative comments, put downs and sarcasm tend to build up resentment in their hearts.  At some point this frustration will boil over resulting in an emotional explosion.  This climate stunts one’s ability to love others on a constant basis.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, Isaiah 61:1.

Hurt people often wear emotions on their sleeves, sending out negative electricity when rubbed the wrong way.  Sadly, there are demented individuals who get their kicks by picking on someone until they explode.  This trend is made worse by social media sites which allow violent videos that gain attention or go viral.  In my mind, there isn’t anything funny about hurt people hurting others.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid, John 14:27.

Jesus has provided a solution to hurt people in the passage above.  To overcome hate, Jesus extended peace to first century citizens.  Since talk is cheap, Jesus lived out love, reaching out to children, the helpless, poor and sick.  Even when the disciples wanted to call it a day or night, Jesus offered his time to strangers every day.  Despite being falsely accused, sentenced to death and dying on a cross, Jesus loved like He was never hurt.  In view of this, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with strength so that love will not die.

by Jay Mankus

 

An Imperfect Process

During a recent writing session, a friend asked me how I have been able to write over 2000 blog posts.  After a pausing a moment, the hardest part is making sure you don’t repeat yourself.  Coming up with new content is an imperfect process, trial and error filled with as many failures as success.  Some of my personal favorites end up bombing with little views with mediocre posts often receiving surprising interest.  Yet, some never make the final cut, deleted, erased or put on hold until the timing is right.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written, John 21:25.

During a seminary class on the New Testament, I discovered the 66 books of the Bible had a similar process.  The Council of Jamnia was held in Yavneh sometime around 90 AD to canonize the 39 books of the modern Old Testament.  Some of Solomon’s Proverbs and the Book of Wisdom were excluded from this list.  Meanwhile, the council of Nicaea met in 325 to complete the same process for first century epistles inspired by Jesus for the New Testament.  Two letters written by the apostle Paul to Corinth were left off, not deemed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16.

Thus, when you read the letters to the Corinthians, you only have half the story.  On one occasion, the apostle Paul received disturbing news about the spiritual regression of new Christians living in Corinth.  Paul was so upset that a spirit of angry filled one of this excluded letters.  Perhaps, after proof reading his words, Paul was consumed with guilt, deciding not to send this it with a messenger.  This story serves as a teachable moment to think before you speak, reflect before you hit send or exercise self-discipline when your frustrated.  While every writer strives for perfection, imperfect people do their best to share what God puts on their hearts.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Flying Blind

From time to time, pilots will face extreme conditions.  During periods of heavy fog, misty skies or massive storms, aircrafts will be flying blind.  Under these circumstances, navigators are forced to rely on their instruments to get safely back to the ground.  Unfortunately, when human beings are thrust into similar scenarios on earth, computers aren’t much of a help.

While He was passing by, He noticed a man [who had been] blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi (Teacher), who [a]sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed and illustrated in him, John 9:1-3.

Over the past month, I have been writing blind, struggling to see the letters on my keyboard.  Due to a recent flare up, my iritis has blurred my vision, turning each blog post into a chore.  Subsequently, the quality of my content has suffered, doing the best I can with the current state of my eyes.  Nonetheless, the Lord has given me the courage to press on, sharing what the Holy Spirit continues to place on my heart.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

According to the apostle Paul, Satan has the ability to blind human minds.  As people rush through busy schedules, minds can become distracted, flying blind through life.  While pilots have advances technology to lean on in adverse conditions, the Bible refers to spiritual weapons available for believers in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Although not mentioned by name, this passage eludes to fasting, claiming the promises of the Bible in prayer and worship.  Therefore, the next time you feel like you’re flying blind, make sure you take the time to arm yourself with spiritual weapons to

and the powers of darkness in this world.

by Jay Mankus

 

Somebody’s Watching You

Hollywood was been warning individuals for years through movies that somebody is watching you.  In 1995 Sandra Bullock starred in The Net, illustrating computer security concerns of the world wide net in this cyber murder mystery.  Three years later Will Smith, Gene Hackman and Jon Voight took this concept further in Enemy of the State highlighting how satellites and technological advances can be used to spy on American citizens.  Twenty years later, Google, Facebook and tracking devices have made this fear a reality, using cell phones and tablets to actually track where you are and what you’re saying if certain features aren’t turned off.  While the popularity of social media continues to climb, many have become distracted, unaware that somebody is watching you.

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good, Proverbs 15:3.

From a spiritual sense, the somebody who is watching your every move is the Creator of the heavens and earth.  The biblical term for this supernatural ability is omnipresence.  According to various authors who have written books describing judgment day, this data is collected over the course of each life.  After you die, every deed is made into a movie reel as your entire life flashes before your eyes.  Following this presentation, God separates the sheep, followers of Jesus from goats, those who rejected God by their actions, behavior and deeds.  If this process does occur, this serves as a warning for the world to shape up by giving your life to Jesus before your hourglass of time runs out on earth.

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord, Jeremiah 23:24.

After wandering away from the Lord during my first semester of college, I came to my senses feeling empty by what the world had to offer.  Through Christian groups on the University of Delaware campus, I went through what I call my spiritual rehab.  On one occasion I was introduced to the word integrity.  A friend illustrated this in terms of doing what’s right when nobody is looking.  This image should be the mindset for all modern day Christians.  For some reason, human nature makes people believe darkness or secrecy can hide sins from God.  However, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah exposes this false notion.  In view of this truth, may the Holy Spirit fill you with integrity so that as God watches your deeds will be pleasing in His sight.

by Jay Mankus