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Tag Archives: coincidence

Abstain from and Shrink any Hints of Evil

When it comes to sex education, abstinence remains the best policy. Abstaining from sex provides a 100% guarantee that teenagers will avoid becoming pregnant or contract a sexual disease. Unfortunately, administrators, educators, and school boards abandoned biblical principles back in the 1960’s. In the last 50 years, elementary, junior high and high schools pass out condoms like candy. Instead of making sex education safer, students are encouraged to experiment with condoms or explore what pronoun they prefer.

For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice, 1 Thessalonians 4:3.

The apostle Paul doesn’t hold back his feelings about sexual desires in the passage above. Paul urges one church to abstain from and shrink any ties to lustful desires, Galatians 5:19-21. Whether it’s a coincidence or not, the first and last act of our carnal desires are sexual in nature. The first is a gateway sin known as sexual immorality, opening the door to ungodly relationships. The final act is participating in orgies which is essentially full blown sexual sin.

That each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor, Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will, 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5.

The passage above provides guidelines to abstain from and shrink all sexual vices. This requires a substitute, a replacement in the form fruits of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. In order to control and manage your own body, abstinence from carnal appetites is essential. Since God calls Christian’s to higher standards than the world, self control must lead the way. Until individuals understand the internal battle going on daily, Galatians 5:16-18, you won’t be able to abstain from and shrink the sexual disease known as sin. Flee now while you still have time to turn around.

by Jay Mankus

Are You Talking to Me?

The phrase “you talkin’ to me” is a classic line from the 1976 film Taxi Driver. Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle who looks at himself in the mirror and imagines what he what he would say if confronted by a bad guy. Unfortunately, this generation is so busy staring at their cell phone or electronic device that this conversation would never commence.

And I said, Who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting, Acts 26:15.

While addressing King Agrippa about his conversion from Judaism to Christianity, Paul points to his life altering conversation with God. During a trip to Damascus, Saul who changed his name to Paul was exposed to what appears to be some form of lightning. Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him, Acts 9:3. This is how the Lord got Paul’s attention, blinded for a short period of time due to exposure to these bright lights.

But arise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, that I might appoint you to serve as [My] minister and to bear witness both to what you have seen of Me and to that in which I will appear to you, Acts 26:16.

Once Paul realized what was actually happening, it took some time for everything to sink in. Luke records Paul’s conversation with God in the passage above. Whenever any individual has an encounter with God, this event doesn’t happen by chance or coincide. Rather, God is talking to you for a specific purpose, revealing a calling, plan or vision that God wants you to fulfill. In view of this, don’t be caught with earbuds drowning God’s voice out so that when God’s whisper appears, you’ll know God is talking to you.

by Jay Mankus

How God Works Behind the Scenes

One day a family emergency arose in the house of Kish.  Those of you who are pet owners understand the frustration when your dog gets out, roaming the neighborhood until you are able to get them back on a leash.  According to the passage below, donkeys escaped from a back field and did not return.  Similar to a household chore, Saul is requested to take a servant with him to corral these animals.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had wandered off and were lost. Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you and arise, go look for the donkeys.” And they passed through the hill country of Ephraim and the land of Shalishah, but did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there and the land of the Benjamites, but they [still] did not find them, 1 Samuel 9:3-4.

From a human perspective, Saul was embarking on a minuscule task to help his family.  Based upon the details provided by Samuel, this unsuccessful search went on for a couple of days.  This quest just so happened to enable Saul to cross paths with a revered prophet.  While Saul and his servant look for a couple of donkey, Samuel was searching for Israel’s first king.  This unusual encounter illustrates how God works behind the scenes.

Now a day before Saul came, the Lord had informed Samuel [of this], saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him as leader over My people Israel; and he will save My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked upon [the distress of] My people, because their cry [for help] has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, “There is the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall rule over My people [as their king],” 1 Samuel 9:15-17.

Tonight you may have to work.  Others may be forced to go to school tomorrow morning.  Over the weekend, you will likely have to fix something, start a project or work on something around the house.  These mundane exercises often bring about boredom, a waste of time to many Americans and individuals throughout the world.  Yet, just as Samuel was secretly searching for a king, God is behind the scenes waiting for the next person who is willing to stand in the gap, by awakening their faith, Ezekiel 22:30.

by Jay Mankus

I’m Sick of It

Every once in a while a song will speak to me.  The timing is perfect, preparing you for the lyrics about to be sung.  Whether its a coincidence, divine intervention or fate, this message connects with your soul.  Such is the case of Skillet’s song Sick of It.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

The opening stanza speaks to people struggling with life.  This appeals to those who keep trying to make there life better without any signs of improvement on the horizon.  Like a boxer on the verge of giving up training for a big fight, progress will determine if you continue.  Anyone who is tired of losing often throws in the towel before letting things play out.
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.
In the film Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne played by Tim Robbins has a I’m sick of it moment.  Frustrated by the injustice he has endured, Dufresne finds himself at a crossroads in life with one of two choices to make.  “Either get busy living or get busy dying.”  This same question must be addressed by anyone sick of their current situation.  May you choose life.

by Jay Mankus

Victories Don’t Come By Accident

Depending upon the nature of a competition, bystanders may suggest that someone is lucky, getting good breaks along the way.  Eyewitnesses to a sporting event might throw out conspiracy theories, blame biased officials or poor conditions to explain an upset or unlikely champion.  However, in the context of prayer, victory does not come by accident.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up, James 4:8-10.

Even those whom drew near to the Lord, walking closely with God during their life experienced moments of doubt.  Job struggled to comprehend the hardships he endured.  Elijah wanted to die after receiving death threat from Queen Jezebel.  Despite being a man after God’s own heart, David wrote against God’s silence in response to his prayers.  Nonetheless, when a persistent prayer enters God’s presence, victory is not far behind.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? – Luke 18:7-8

At the end of the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus brings up the question of faith.  As the day of Christ’s return approaches, cynicism within this world increases.  The more that bad things happen to relatively good people, human minds wrestle to comprehend God’s logic.  Thus, good results are attributed to coincidence, luck and the yin and yang effect.  However, for those who believe in the power of prayer, victories are not a fluke.  Rather, blessings are a direct correlation to obedience, prayer and submitting to God.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Hands of God

Stephen King has written a plethora of books, several of which have become classic films.  Taking horror in a new direction, King’s 1994 mini-series entitled the Stand portrays an end of days film in America.  Following a biological outbreak, only 10 percent of the population survive with the righteous calling the heartland home.  Meanwhile, those tempted by evil make their way to Las Vegas.  In the end, the Hand of God comes down to rescue the saints from a nuclear bomb.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them, Acts 13:2.”

Throughout history, God’s hands have been invisible, mysteriously protecting faithful Israelites.  Accounts abound within the Old Testament.  Noah and his family escaped the flood.  Abraham and Lot fled Sodom and Gomorrah before its demise.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego survived a fiery furnace and Daniel spent a night in a lion’s den, without harm.  Are these merely coincidences or the hands of God?

So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off, Acts 13:3.

According to the New Testament, God’s hands are extended from heaven through his followers.  When the elders laid hands on people, discernment, gifts and wisdom are imparted.  Similar to a prayer circle, believers expect God to do great things.  Without faith, even Jesus could not perform miracles in his home town.  Yet, when a concert of prayer is formed around a person in need, the hands of God are more than a legend; His power become a reality to those who receive this blessing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Owner of a Lonely Heart

The classic rock group Yes introduced their song in 1983.  Debuting on the 90125 album, Owner of a Lonely Heart spoke to broken souls, striking a nerve that many experience throughout life.  Prior to its success, this song was turned down by a number of record companies, calling Owner of a Lonely Heart a strange song that would never be a hit.  If Paul Harvey was still here, I’m sure he would say, “and now you know the rest of the story!”

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.- Isaiah 41:10

In recent years, Jon Anderson, the lead singer of Yes teamed up with 4Him, a Christian Contemporary group to sing Where There is Faith.  Whether its coincidence, fate or mere circumstance, but believing you will be set free from a lonely heart takes faith.  If you’re down in the dumps, with little hope of improving, doubt creeps in, opening the door for depression, isolation or suicide.  This is where faith can intervene.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

The lyrics of Owner of a Lonely Heart refers to free will on several occasions.  After reading the lyrics, loneliness is a choice, a decision one makes to either dwell in their sorrows or take a chance on tomorrow.  If any of you find yourself to be an owner of a lonely heart today, take some time to read God’s promises in the Bible for those suffering from loneliness.  May the message in these words turn your heart from grief to comfort, trusting in the loving hands of Jesus for healing.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

God Wants Your Sex

What?  Am I in the right place?  Are you sure you’re not referring to the George Michael song?  During a private conversation between Moses and God, Exodus 31:18, this concept was first introduced to the Israelites.

To prevent the excuse, “well, no one ever told me,” the Lord lays out His position about sex in plain view for all to see, Leviticus 18.   The first sex education message may be graphic in nature, yet God’s boundaries are clearly defined.  Every possible scenario, no matter have perverted, establishes a line in the sand to discourage unlawful sexual acts.   If Adam couldn’t keep the only law in the garden, Genesis 2:17, what’s going to keep mankind from pushing the sexual envelope.

To combat this temptation, God introduces the acts of the sinful nature in Galatians 5:19-21.  It’s not a coincidence that sex is linked to the first and last desire.  Sexual immorality is like an open door that many walk through, attracted by temporary pleasures and illicit scenery.  When lust becomes full blown, individuals are persuaded to partake in orgies, losing control of their sexuality.

According to the apostle Paul, the church in Corinth struggled to control their bodies.  Subsequently, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 is written to help those who have strayed off course.  Beyond these addictive habits, soul ties merge you with a sexual partner.  These bonds often confuse souls, destroying relationships and preventing true intimacy from forming.  In view of this, God wants your sex so that your temple, physical body, will be offered as a living sacrifice, Romans 12:1-2.  Please share your feelings, opinions and thoughts on this controversial topic.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

It’s Not a Coincidence

Depending upon who you listen to, trust or watch, everyone seems to have an opinion today.  Whether its regarding current events, life’s problems or politics, worldviews influence what you ultimately believe.  This process forms a foundation, a conscience that inspires individuals to fight for, speak out against and encourage others to become like minded.  However, when you embrace biblical principles, the true blessings you will find is not a coincidence.

According to God, there is a connection between honoring your parents and living a long life, Exodus 20:12.  Essentially, if you vow to cherish, respect and maintain a good name for your parents, life expectancy should increase.  While there are exceptions, people whose life is stolen by a drunk driver, disease or unexpected accident, God does fulfill this promise for the rest.  If you’re not happy with the current state of your soul, begin to put Jesus’ words into practice, Matthew 7:24-27, so that your house will be prepared to endure future storms.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you take a long look at the breakdown of families, violence within inner cities and the growth of gangs, inspired by gangsta wanna be’s, life is snuffed out way too soon.  Street corners, schools and playgrounds are no longer safe places.  Perhaps this trend could be turned around if only individuals would begin to honor their father and mother.  Sure, there are other factors which have contributed to this cultural decay, yet it’s not a coincidence when life is protected, saved or extended by those who commit to loving their neighbor as themselves.

by Jay Mankus

Dining Out

The events of today can only be explained as a God instance, leading me to center of God’s will for a moment in time.  Stir crazy from not being cleared to go back to work yet, I spent 2 hours spring cleaning, purging my lame wardrobe.  After running an errand, I felt compelled to find a quiet restaurant to read and write for a while.  What followed next is best described as a Happy Meal at McDonald’s.

After enjoying a small treat from the dollar menu, I began reading a few chapters of the Bible, jotting down interesting details.  Before I started my prayer journal, a stranger approached with a few questions.  Noticing my Bible, his curiosity led to an hour long conversation.  Fifteen minutes later, a bystander joined the fray, adding to what I had begun.  To my surprise, this passionate woman was the mother of one of my former students.  When she departed, our discussion continued, reflecting on the temptations in life.

Although the conclusion wasn’t earth shattering, a seed was planted in a heart whose soul has been influenced by the hypocrisy of Christian leaders.  In life, God doesn’t force anyone to believe.  Rather, the apostle Paul suggests individuals are surrounded by visible and invisible qualities of a higher power, Romans 1:18-20.  Thus, anyone who is longing for a deeper meaning to life should start by soaking in the words of Christ, Romans 10:17, so that one day their minds will be renewed.  If you’re thinking about driving through or ordering take out, you might miss an encounter of a lifetime.  Therefore, slow down, kneel and ask the Holy Spirit for the words to share as you dine out.

by Jay Mankus

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