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Tag Archives: blessings and curses

The Connection Between Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

From the time human beings are born into this world, there is an internal desire to want satisfaction. Subsequently, infants naturally cry and eventually proclaim “I want, I want, I want.” Some adults don’t grow out of or lose this selfish behavior. Thus, many Christians go through life wondering why they aren’t as productive and successful as they think they should be. This is where the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness comes into play.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your beasts, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock, Deuteronomy 28:1-4.

As he was about to retire as Israel’s spiritual leader, passing the torch on to Joshua, Moses felt compelled to reveal the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. Moses devotes an entire chapter of the Bible to blessings and curses. During his farewell address, Moses compares the choices individuals make to life and death, Deuteronomy 30:11-18. Choosing obedience by being faithful to the commands in the Bible results in blessings. Yet, if you forget God’s advice by doing what’s right in your own eyes, your life will be filled with anguish, heartache and painful remorse.

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned, John 15:4-6.

Whatever decisions you have made in life, remember the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:19-23. This cry for help reveals a God of second chances. In the passage above, Jesus reveals another connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. God is like a gardener who prunes human beings to stimulate spiritual growth. Yet, unless you remain within the Vine which is Jesus, you are unable to bear fruit. Staying connected to Jesus throughout life demonstrates faithfulness and yields spiritual fruit.

by Jay Mankus

Who Deserves the Credit?

Depending upon who your reliable source may be in life, credit and praise is assigned to various individuals and or forces. The superstitious tend to lean to luck for someone’s good fortune. Scientists may point others to random selection to explain earthly blessings. As an aspiring screen writer, Hollywood refers to the Universe falling right into place to account for unexpected gifts. Yet, the earthly brother of Jesus points first century Christians toward who really deserves the credit.

Every good gift and every perfect ([d]free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]m James 1:17.

When I was in high school, one of my close golfing friend Chris always seemed to get good breaks while on the golf course. Whether it was skipping his golf ball over the water, going through a tree or receiving a friendly bounce off the cart path, his string of luck never seemed to end. One of our teammates, Steve, attributed this to the luck of the Irish. Since Chris’ family was Irish Catholic, it made sense to me at the time. This belief continued until I began to read the Bible in college.

And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself], James 1:18.

One New Testament author refers to daily encounters with angels that go unnoticed, Hebrews 13:2. A Psalmist points to guardian angels who guide and protect human beings every day, Psalm 91:11. The apostle Paul writes about an invisible force that you can actually keep in step with, Galatians 5:25. Meanwhile, Moses speaks of blessings and curses that will come upon you based upon your degree of obedience, Deuteronomy 28. When you put this all together with the passages above, God deserves the credit for being the giver of all good things in life.

by Jay Mankus

Aokigahara Forest

Suicide Forest in Japan (Full Documentary) – YouTube

Aokigahara Forest was featured in the 2019 season debut of The Unexplained hosted by William Shatner. The first episode entitled Evil Places visited a couple of geographic locations with a troubled past. While Aokigahara translates into English as “Land of Blue Trees”, this place is known as the Japanese suicide forest. Located northwest of Mount Fuji on the Japanese island of Honshu, visitors find these 35 square meters area to be eerily silent. Remains of about a hundred suicides are removed from the Aokigahara forest every year. Despite warning signs throughout this parking lot, those who enter this forest appear to lose their minds due to the presence of demonic and evil spirits.

Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness of [mind and] heart [in gratitude] for the abundance of all [with which He had blessed you], 48 Therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord shall send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and in want of all things; and He will put a yoke of iron upon your neck until He has destroyed you, Deuteronomy 28:47-48.

To those individuals who return to their cars, ropes and strings are located throughout the woods, personal belongings of the dead are scattered on the ground and rumors of ghosts haunting this domain continue today. Nearby residents of Aokigahara Forest have warned their children to stay away from this park for the past sixty years. Unfortunately, curious bystanders can’t resist the urge to explore the anomaly that people who enter this forest go crazy and commit suicide. If you think the Aokigahara Forest is merely an urban legend, local authorities no longer provide official data on suicide rates to journalists.

Moreover, He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61 Also every sickness and every affliction which is not written in this Book of the Law the Lord will bring upon you until you are destroyed, Deuteronomy 28:60-61.

In the Old Testament, Moses devotes to an entire chapter to blessings and curses. Moses spends the first 14 verses to explain how and why blessings occur. Meanwhile, the final 54 verses are designed to highlight how someone, something or a place can be cursed. As more paranormal investigations occur at Aokigahara Forest, perhaps researchers will unlock the secret of these mysterious suicides. However, for now the presence of evil spirits here is invisible to the human eye. Yet, if demons and evil spirits continue to prematurely end the lives to troubles souls, dead bodies are more than enough proof that Aokigahara Forest remains an evil place on earth.

by Jay Mankus

What’s Behind Blessings and Curses?

There is something fascinating behind the lives of the rich and famous.  If you have ever had the opportunity to visit resorts, visit wealthy neighborhoods or vacation in exquisite destinations, its amazing what money can buy.  Yet, one has to wonder, what has led to the accumulation of mass possessions?  While the answers vary, discipline, hard work and persistence are involved.  However, at some point the blessing of God must be considered.

The LORD‘s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous, Proverbs 3:33.

During my 10 years as a high school teacher, I spent numerous hours developing curriculum.  One of the most intriguing chapters I taught was based upon an 18th century case study.  A pastor’s family and criminal were placed side by side, examining the descendants of each for 2 generations.  The findings revealed the pastor’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren went on to pursue higher education, serve the military and become self-sufficient.  Meanwhile, this alcoholic turned criminal gave birth to needy individuals, costing local, state and the federation government over 1 million dollars.

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, Exodus 20:5.

Few people fail to recognize the conditional relationship crafted into the 10 commandments.  Growing up Catholic the verse above was omitted from CCD, similar to Sunday School in evangelical churches.  This passage suggests that God will not allow those people who chose to ignore God’s principles to prosper.  Unfortunately, modern sermons highlight the loving God of the New Testament, often canceling out the teachings of the Old Testament.  Yet, behind blessings and curses, you reap what you sow, leading to one or the other.  In view of this truth, choose obedience today.

by Jay Mankus

 

God isn’t the Solution?

As the print media tries to survive in an age of instant information, journalists are encouraged to write provocative pieces.  Such is the case of this week’s headline in the New York Daily News, “God isn’t fixing this.”  The premise of this article is based upon two opposing worldviews, Theism verse Secularism Humanism.  After several conservative politicians offered thoughts and prayers in response to the San Bernardino shooting, liberals are demanding actions, not words.  Thus, the title suggests God isn’t the solution.

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! – Isaiah 1:15

According to Webster’s Dictionary, humanism is any system of thought or action concerned with the interests or ideals of people characterized by an emphasis on human interests rather than religion.  In the mind of those who think government is the answer or solution to life’s problem, God isn’t fixing America’s problems.  Thus, Communists, Progressives and Socialists believe gun control is the ticket, the cure to eliminating crime.  The main flaw is if officials get their way, only the criminals will gain access to guns, leaving law abiding citizens defenseless, without anything to protect their families.

However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you, Deuteronomy 28:15.

On the other side of the worldview spectrum is Christian theism, holding to Judeo-Christian values.  Instead of trusting in science or self, this ideology leans on God’s understanding, rather than trusting in man.  This blind faith baffles those who deny God’s existence.  Thus, the debate commences on whether or not prayers can fix America’s current situation.  Beyond the realm of prayer, you must consider blessings and curses.  If America continues to reject God, move away from their with alliance Israel and disobey the Bible’s commands, then words of the Daily News will become a self-fulfilled prophecy.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

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