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Re-examining the Anointing of Jehu

Sometimes the message that God is trying to communicate to you doesn’t make sense initially. Take the prophet Elisha for example, who is about to retire, but is called by God to anoint a new king . The passage below details instructions given to Elisha to follow. The first two verses seem clear, but the end of verse three raises some concern. “Why is God telling me to run? What is going to happen immediately following my anointing for me to flee?”

And Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, Gird up your loins, take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead. When you arrive, look there for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi; and go in and have him arise from among his brethren and lead him to an inner chamber. Then take the cruse of oil and pour it on his head and say, Thus says the Lord: I have anointed you king over Israel. Then open the door and flee; do not tarry, 2 Kings 9:1-3.

During the anointing of Jehu, Elisha reveals several accomplishments that this new king will fulfill during his reign. One of these promises is to overthrow queen Jezebel. Perhaps inspired by this prophecy, Jehu doesn’t waste anytime. The passage below details Jehu’s encounter with Jezebel. Jehu’s call to action was simple, “who is on God’s side?” Two of the three body guards of Jezebel, knowing of her evil deeds, took Jehu’s advice, throwing Jezebel off a balcony, falling to her death.

Now when Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes and beautified her head and looked out of [an upper] window. 31 And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, [Have you come in] peace, you Zimri, who slew his master? 32 Jehu lifted up his face to the window and said, Who is on my side? Who? And two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 And he said, Throw her down! So they threw her down, and some of her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, and he drove over her, 2 Kings 9:30-33.

While the example I have chosen is extreme, procrastination is a major factor that prevents many individuals from achieving their full potential. A sense of urgency is rarely demonstrated. People pften fall into the trap, “I have plenty of time to do this or that.” Yet, as each passing day goes by without acting, time becomes your enemy. As I re-examine the anointing of Jehu, the call for action should be for today, not tomorrow. Don’t second guess yourself. Rather, seize the day just as King Jehu was a man of action.

by Jay Mankus

The Dangers of Sexual Fantasies

During the rise of the Roman Empire, the Romans took the Greek gods and changed their names to create their own. This adoption promoted the worship of many gods and goddesses. Juno, the goddess of women and fertility and Venus, goddess of love and beauty inspired first century Romans to indulge their sexual fantasies. One of the local temples even encouraged prostitution in the name of religion, an enticing way to attract new followers. This was the spiritual condition that the apostle Paul was forced to confront in a portion of his letter listed below.

And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it). For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one, Romans 1:23-26.

According to Luke, a first century historian and well known doctor, the apostle Paul was greatly disturbed by the idols in plain sight in Athens, Greece, Acts 17:16. Rome took these same gods and goddess and simply changed their names. If statues promoting fornication and pornography were in full view in Greece, it can be assumed that similar idols were erected in Rome. Apparently, some Christians thought worshipping these man made gods was okay. This mindset inspired the harsh and graphic words above. Paul boldly explains how sexual worship can lead to a homosexual lifestyle.

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:13-15.

While it’s unclear of the context above, Jesus’ earthly brother lays out how lust can ruin your life. First and foremost, you can’t blame God for your own sexual fantasies. Whenever anyone places themselves in a compromising position, you open the door for enticement and lust. The longer you remain in this tempting state, the closer you come to sin conceiving. Thus, unless you follow the blueprint for escaping temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:13, sexual fantasies will lead down the same wayward path as David with Bathsheba and Samson with Delilah.

by Jay Mankus

Prayer Should be Sensed; Not Just Promised

After I accepted Jesus as my Savior on December 4th, 1984, I began my exploratory stage of Christianity. I started attending a local youth group in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. This decision created a desire to draw closer to God as I couldn’t get enough church events. Soon I joined an accountability group, followed by a Bible Study and sharing group. The only downside to these experiences is that I often found myself promising to pray for people, but forgetting to actually take the time to pray after leaving.

Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already, Matthew 6:5.

During a sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gives two examples of prayer. The first illustration conveys how not to pray. The second reveals that prayer is meant to be an intimate conversation with God. Thus, the first thing you need to do is withdraw to a quiet place, away from all the distractions in life. The final sentence in the passage below suggests that God rewards those who spend time alone with God in prayer. From my own personal experiences over the past 35 years, powerful prayer is sensed by those you are praying for and within the place where you are praying.

But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open, Matthew 6:6.

The 2015 film War Room illustrates how lives can be transformed when Christians get serious about prayer. Unfortunately, procrastination cause many to take a casual approach to prayer, waiting until accidents, emergencies or tragedy happen before pouring out their hearts to God. While my own War Room has become my bedroom, Jesus eludes to using a closet to pray. Whatever place you find and make as your own, make sure that your prayers are sensed and not just promised.

by Jay Mankus

The Suppression of Truth

In a letter to the church of Rome, Paul writes about a first century plot to suppress the truth about Jesus. Perhaps, this conspiracy began in Matthew 28:12-15 as the soldiers in charge of watching Jesus’ dead body were bribed by religious leaders to denounce the resurrection of Jesus. According to one of Jesus’ own disciples, this scheme was successful, deceiving the public after Jesus ascended into heaven. This fake news story claimed that one of Jesus’ disciples simply stole his body and hid it. The more this rumor was spread throughout the land, many came to believe that Jesus’ resurrection didn’t happen; merely a first century hoax.

For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative, Romans 1:18.

According to the passage above, this suppression of truth was inspired by a spirit of wickedness. As individuals crave, gratify and indulge their sinful nature, the flesh begins to influence minds, set on worldly aspirations. This invisible force compels souls to suppress the truth about God so people can continue to do what in right in their own eyes. This trend continues today as a wave of progressive teaching weekly attacks Christianity and Judaism. The ultimate goal is to make the good news about Jesus Christ inoperative. If the truth about the Bible ever gets out, lies about how people are currently living will be exposed.

For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], Romans 1:19-20.

According to the apostle Paul, you don’t need a degree to understand the truth. Rather, God created every human being with a conscience. This unique aspect of earthly bodies serves as a spiritual thermostat. When something doesn’t seem right, consciences are triggered. This internal system elicits conviction, concern or inquiry to seek further insight about what is really going on. As individuals begin to be still before God, the Lord’s attributes, eternal power and invisible qualities become clear. Thus, as societal leaders continues to suppress the truth, activate your conscience so that the truth about Jesus will begin to shine through.

by Jay Mankus

Overcoming Futile Thoughts

Futile is defined as a pointless effort, occurring when individuals are incapable of producing any useful result. Synonyms include fruitless, ineffective, of no use, vain and worthless. After reading the passage below, I began to wonder, what causes sharp minds to become dull and futile?

Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves], Romans 1:21-22.

A letter written to the church of Galatia illuminates how thoughts become futile. The apostle Paul uses the expression clear and obvious when referencing fleshly acts and practices in Galatians 5:19. A list of these ungodly acts follow in verses 20-21. At the end of these traits, Paul suggests that those who live according to their sinful nature will not inherit eternal life, sliding further and further away from God with each indulgence.

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit,] Galatians 5:25.

So if you find yourself in this unfortunate state, how do you reverse this trend? Where do you turn or what can be done to become fruitful and useful once again? At the end of Galatians 5, Paul introduces the concept of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Instead of gratifying sinful desires, obedience to the fruits of the Holy Spirit brings life. As soon as Christians understand their obligation to God’s Spirit, Romans 8:13, futile thoughts can be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. This isn’t easy, but can be done with prayer and fasting along the way.

by Jay Mankus

When You Are Moving in the Wrong Direction

Whenever you find yourself in uncharted territory, common sense leads you to ask others who have been in a similar situation. If you just ask the first person that you find and respond accordingly, you might find yourself heading in the wrong direction or going to the wrong place Whether you are dealing with an illness like cancer, considering a career change or searching for wisdom to overcome a current obstacle, the more insight you compile the better.

When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean, Luke 17:14.

The man in the passage above is simply following the crowd, doing what the locals are accustom to do for a healed leper. This step was necessary to be fully restored back into society; receiving acceptance from spiritual leaders. While on his way to see a priest in Jerusalem, this Samaritan has a change of heart. This didn’t seem right as this man’s conscience told him to turn around. Whispers in his mind like, “why are you going to a priest instead of the One who healed you?” Some sort of internal struggle persuaded this man to turn around abruptly and return to Jesus.

One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; Luke 17:15.

When a couple leaves the hospital with a new born child for the first time, there is no handbook to follow step by step for the rest of your life. Sure, there are books you can read, classes you can take and grandparents to reach out to, but in the end you need to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This trial and error applies to most aspects of life, living and learning along the way. Yet, when your conscience is awakened, your heart is convicted and ears hear God’s still small voice, make sure you listen so you don’t end up going to the wrong place.

by Jay Mankus

A Key Ingredient for Success

During my interactions with family over Thanksgiving, the best tasting dishes elicited desires to ascertain the recipe. Some were provided from memory while others were derived from cookbooks and homemade recipes past down for a generation. This topic of conversation made me ponder, what is a key ingredient for success beyond cooking?

Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass, Psalm 37:5.

As I Stopped to listen to an interview while channel surfing, I heard a guest speaker talk about the important of desire. When experience and talent is limited, desire is the one thing that will propel individuals forward, striving to overcome failure after failure. Desire provides inspiration when hope and progress begin to diminish. Yet, if desire persists and breeds perseverance, desire becomes a key ingredient for success.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall will be filled, Matthew 5:6,”.

Whether you are referring to chasing dreams. fulfilling goals or losing weight, desire is one of the few aspects in life that you can control. Desire can ignite conviction, instill discipline and inspire change when progress doesn’t occur right away. Thus, if you want to start your 2020 New Year’s resolutions early or make good on vows from 2019 or earlier, desire is a key ingredient for future success.

by Jay Mankus

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