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Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

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

Therapy

When I was six years old I broke my leg after jumping off an above ground pool.  In a split second, an entire year was lost to injury with six months stuck in an old plaster cast.  Once the doctors removed the cast, my muscles and skin took another six months to fully recover.  Modern techniques in physical therapy have sped up the healing process enabling bodies to return faster than ever to a routine life prior to any accident that you may have suffered.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, Matthew 10:18.

According to a recent Newsweek article, nearly one in five Americans will suffer from some sort of mental illness over the course of their life.  If the mind is a terrible thing to waste, then perhaps it’s time to seek advice, counseling or therapy to improve one’s mental state.  In a letter to the church at Philippi, the apostle Paul encourages individuals to get your own life right before trying to minister to others, Philippians 2:1-3.  Despite your desire to help others, sometimes it’s better to wait until your own mind becomes reinvigorated.

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? – Matthew 16:26

The motto of the YMCA focuses and the body, mind and soul.  Exercise keeps the body in good shape.  Meanwhile, memorizing verses from the Bible and applying biblical principles keeps the human mind strong.  However, the soul is often neglected despite serving as people’s inmost being.  Thus, therapy for the soul begins with purpose and meaning in life.  As a tax collector once said, “what good is it to amass worldly riches only to forfeit your soul.”  Therefore, do let another day go by without asking the Holy Spirit for help.  Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and God’s door will be opened to receive the therapy that you need.

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

 

Lairs of Satan

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead, Revelation 3:1.

Regardless of the subject or topic, there will always be extremes on either side of the issue.  For example, denominations vary on the theological role the Devil, Lucifer and Satan play on this life.  Charismatic churches encourage prayer which serves as a hedge of protection against demonic activity.  Meanwhile, moderate mainline churches do not emphasize spiritual warfare, speaking of Satan in symbolic terms and theory.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Matthew 16:23.

During the first century, Jesus wasn’t afraid to address controversial topics.  While addressing his disciples in private, Jesus exposes mindsets of the Devil.  Similar to the speel dished out to Eve that convinced her to eat forbidden fruit, Satan attempts to take human minds off of God’s concerns.  This is done through the temptation of instant gratification.  Apparently, Peter fell prey to this trap sent from Satan’s lair to his mind by a demon.

I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you, Revelation 3:9.

In the book of Revelation, John writes sevens letters to churches chosen by the Holy Spirit.  John does not sugar coat the spiritual condition of these congregations.  One is described as being dead, another lukewarm and one with segments of Satan sitting inside the pews.  If every city has a safe and dangerous section of town, why is it so hard to imagine that the same concept exists in the spiritual realm.  As the moral fabric of America continues to crumble, perhaps there are lairs of Satan entrapping souls through an addiction to sin.  Unless these dominions of darkness are uncovered with fasting and prayer, demonic powers will continue to reign.  May the Holy Spirit open our eyes and inspire more people to put on the armor of God daily, Ephesians 6:10-20.

by Jay Mankus

The Hidden Years of Jesus

In the life of a Jew, adulthood begins at age twelve.  A ceremony known as a Bar-mitzvah for boys and Bat-mitzvah for girls commences this stage in life.  Luke 2 provides the only glimpse of Jesus’ life as a boy during his Bar-mitzvah.  Following this event, there are 18 years of silence known as the hidden years of Jesus.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart, Luke 2:51.

Despite this gap of missing time, there are a few things we know about Jesus.  First, Jesus continued in the ways of his earthly father Joseph as a carpenter.  According to Luke, Jesus remained an obedient son, providing for his mother Mary after Joseph’s death.  The next time Jesus appears in the Bible is in the day of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus’ earthly ministry.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man, Luke 2:52.

There are 3 qualities that highlight the missing years of Jesus,  First, Jesus grew in wisdom by daily taking time alone to pray with his heavenly father.  Second, Jesus’ actions, constant care and nurturing words magnified his stature as a godly man.  Finally, as Jesus keep in step with the Holy Spirit, God favor remained on Jesus in the form of daily blessings.  All these things prepared Jesus for the accounts portrayed in the four gospels which transformed the lives of 11 disciples.

by Jay Mankus

I’m Fine… Not!

As a former counselor and teacher at a boarding school, there are certain red flags which students indirectly raise in a given week.  If you are not paying attention, these obvious signs can be ignored.  While body language often reveals someone’s mood, subtle responses like “I’m fine” sugar coat the truth.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32.

On one occasion near the end of the school year, one of my students threatened to kill another.  During a heart to heart, I threw his bunk bed across the room.  This act of frustration served as a break through causing him to reveal the reason behind his threat.  Breaking down in tears, I learned his parents were alcoholics and he’d rather go to jail than endure another night in that environment.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come, John 16:13.

At this moment in time, I sensed the Holy Spirit beginning to speak through me.  Yet, today there are countless adults, neighbors and students who continue to reply to daily conversation with the words I’m fine or okay.  Unless you take the time to reach out to needy souls, healing will never come.  Therefore, don’t be afraid to reach out, lend a helping hand or break through the superficial to enable hearts to heal.

by Jay Mankus

The Ages of Faith

With the dawn of each new age, changes are made to adjust so that the world can understand what has happened in the past.  In the context of the Bible, 3 distinct stages exist: oratory, letters and publication.  The words of the Old Testament were passed on orally from one generation to the next.  Hebrew families raised their children by regularly recounting stories of faith to guide their steps into adulthood.  The celebration of Bar Mitzvahs for boys and Bat Mitzvah for girls culminates in years of biblical training by memorizing the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ, Romans 10:17.

During the first century, only the wealthy could afford education.  Thus, illiteracy among the middle and lower class was high.  As the Holy Spirit began to inspire authors to pen individual books of the New Testament, not many could read.  Therefore, apostles, disciples and pastors read these letters during gatherings for prayer.  This explains why the apostle Paul selects the phrase faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.

The next age of faith began in 1450 following Johann Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.  This made the publication of Bibles accessible to common people.  However, segments of the church do not embrace this initially.  Major denominations like the Roman Catholic Church believed only priests could interpret the Bible correctly.  The average Christian could not be trusted to handle the Word of God.  This mindset and resistance led to the dark ages tainted by spiritual corruption.

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success, Joshua 1:8.

Today, we live in an age of over saturation.  Multiple translations are available with a click of a mouse, downloading an app or read on a cell phone.  This access in great for those who desire to grow their faith.  Yet, there is a temptation to change translations until you make the Bible say what you want.  Who knows what the next age may bring.  Nonetheless, if you want to growth your faith, the best way remains by daily reading, studying and memorizing the Bible.  This spiritual discipline often leads to putting faith into action.

by Jay Mankus