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Tag Archives: abandoning God

The Demise of Leadership

The world is full of trends that come and go. Following the leadership of Moses and Joshua, Israel turned to Judges for more than 300 years. In the days of Samuel the prophet, the people of Israel wanted to become like the other nations in the world. Despite his disdain for this decision, the Lord puts this choice into it’s proper perspective. The people aren’t rejecting Samuel as it’s spiritual leader, they are abandoning God so that they can look to an earthly king that they can see.

But it displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to govern us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them, 1 Samuel 8:6-7.

Before elections were developed to choose a national leader, the elders, the next in line or some sort of council began a search for the next king. In the passage below, this group was misled by physical characteristics. The logical choice for Saul’s replacement was a man with an impressive appearance, height and stature. Unfortunately, this common mistake has led to a demise of leadership, choosing an empty suit over a godly individual.

And he said, Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice. And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and called them to the sacrifice. When they had come, he looked on Eliab [the eldest son] and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him. But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart, 1 Samuel 16:5-7.

Yet, even a man after God’s own heart isn’t guaranteed to be a successful leader. According to 2 Samuel 11:1, idleness caused King David to put God’s will on hold. When David decided to go on vacation for 3 months, he began to fall prey to the lust of his flesh. Instead of changing course quickly with a U-turn back toward God, arrogance and pride prevent many godly leaders from getting right with God. Before this demise of leadership gets any worse, follow the disciples teaching on confession, James 5:16. so that future leaders will rise from the ashes of sin.

by Jay Mankus

Further Seems Forever

I may be one of the few people in America who still buys cassette tapes and CD’s, but when I uncover a hidden gem I can’t resist.  Although my desire to start my own Christian radio station faded years ago, I enjoy broadening my scope of musical genres.  Whether its alternative, hip hop, ska or techno, wholesome music soothes my soul.  Perhaps I skipped a decade, yet I’m glad I stumbled upon the group Further Seems Forever.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise, James 5:13.

This title reminds me of the times in life where I have strayed off course, abandoning God for the pleasures of this world.  Sin has a habit of distracting its willing participants longer than expected.  Subsequently, skipping church, reading the Bible or praying once can form a pattern.  Before you know it, days turn into weeks, months or possibly years, resulting in an extended vacation from God.

My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed, Psalm 71:23.

To make sure this slide doesn’t lead to eternal separation from God, drastic steps must be taken.  Forever Seems Forever suggests concentrating on how to start a spiritual fire within your heart.  While distance makes the heart grow fonder, temptation can paralyze victims through addiction.  Therefore, don’t let the sun go down today until you lift up your hands in prayer, open up the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to set your heart on fire.

by Jay Mankus

Traces of Azusa Street

One hundred and six years prior to William Seymour’s preaching which transformed downtown Los Angeles, many Americans had abandoned God.  According to a 17th century historian, Ian Murray reports this moral decay in the book Revival and Revivalism.  Based upon his research, 1799 was one of the darkest periods for followers of Jesus in the United States.  Church attendance rapidly declined, mock communions were often held on college campus’ and committed prayers dwindled down to a few.  Religious persecution grew, causing the weak to deny their faith and true believers to meet in secret, fearful of being targeted by a growing godless culture.  When all seemed lost, America experienced its first great spiritual awakening in 1800 through an outpouring of the Holy Spirit like the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

A century later, another movement was on the verge of breaking loose, but this time it began across the pond in England.  Leonard Ravenhill, a 20th century  historian on revival went to the origin of this spiritual outbreak to see what elements precipitated God’s presence in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Behind average at best preaching and worship, an anointing of prayer led to an outpouring of confession.  As a result, the area crime rate dropped to zero as prisons became empty.  By the time police were being laid off, churches hired these men to direct the traffic in and around prayer, teaching and revival meetings.  Reaching beyond the church doors, miners felt compelled to stop cursing and swearing, resulting in retraining of mules since they didn’t know how to respond to kind words.

As a black man living in Houston, William Seymour was forced to sit outside the main lecture area, listening to God’s teaching through an open door in a hallway.  Attending Charles Parham’s Bible School in 1905, Seymour did not allow his one blind eye to quench his thirst for God’s Word.  Introduced to the teaching of glossolalia, known today as speaking in tongues, William felt called to take this teaching to the streets of LA.  On a street called Azusa, Seymour founded the modern Pentecostal movement as the gifts of the Holy Spirit spread like wildfire across the country.  Oppressed by theology, Seymour believed God is the same yesterday, today and the future, including spiritual gifts in his belief system.

Today, spiritual gifts tend to be divisive, separating the body of Christ instead of uniting under the guise of light.  Both sides of the argument can assume equal blame as some churches disregard Paul’s teaching regarding orderly worship mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 & 14.  Meanwhile, the frozen chosen have grown cold, lacking love and a sense of respect when it comes to discussing theology in a god honoring manner.  As for me, I’ve been on both sides of this issue throughout my life.  However, currently, I believe there are traces of Azusa Street in the future for America and across the world.  Go no further than South Korea and Nigeria’s revival in the past 10 years to realize, God is not done with mankind.  Therefore, as you live day to day, don’t be surprised if traces of Azusa make their way to your own street corner.

by Jay Mankus

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