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Tag Archives: drawing close to God

Recognizing Distractions Early Before It’s Too Late

There is a strange phenomena that occurs when individuals are about to draw close to God.  The apostle Paul points to the spiritual realm to explain distractions, interruptions and unexplained events, Ephesians 6:12.  According to Paul, the devil’s strategy includes three waves.  The first enables certain rulers to rise to power such as judges, kings and political leaders.  This wave is reinforced by worldly forces, areas, regions and territories under demonic oppression where evil is allowed to reign.  Finally, there are spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realm fueled by demons, minions and strongmen to execute Satan’s schemes on earth.

It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination [that is, a demonic spirit claiming to foretell the future and discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners a good profit by fortune-telling. 17 She followed after Paul and us and kept screaming and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” – Acts 16:16-17

Using this criteria, Luke details an example from Paul’s ministry while visiting Philippi.  While on his way to participate in a prayer and worship service, a slave girl was sent to distract Paul.  Apparently, a demonic spirit recognized that Paul’s missionary team were servants of the most high God.  Just as spirits hounded Jesus, this revealed truth caused a slave girl to interrupt Paul’s message of salvation to Europe for several days, regularly screaming and shouting as Paul tried to preach.  According to Luke, this gradually wore Paul down, annoyed by this constant distraction.  When Paul rebuked this spirit, the owners of this slave girl complained to the chief magistrates, convincing law enforcement to imprison Paul and Silas.

She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment, Acts 16:18.

While in prison, Paul and Silas could have been distracted by anger, bitterness and injustice.  Yet, prayers of the saints strengthened these men, turning this setback into a golden opportunity.  How you may ask?  Well, Paul and Silas transformed their prison cell into a worship service.  As Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns, a great earthquake rocked Philippi.  When this quake opened the doors to each cell, some would have taken this as a sign from God to escape.  However, Paul demonstrated amazing leadership, convincing all the prisoners to stay put; saving the life of the jailor who was about to kill himself, the fate he would have faced if any prisoner escaped.  These are the blessings that await those who recognize spiritual distractions early before it’s too late..

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual Earthquake

The Weather Channel has a history of programs which illustrate strange weather phenomena.  Shows like It Could Happen Tomorrow are based upon ideal conditions which come together to create the perfect storm.  If this has happened in the past, can the same components result in a spiritual earthquake?

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly, Acts 4:31.

One of the first accounts of such of an event is recorded by a first century doctor.  It’s not uncommon for individuals to embellish, exaggerate or stretch the truth.  However, this characteristic is unusual for a respected man of medicine.  Although bizarre, a similar encounter occurs in the city of Philippi.  Sure, this region is known for earthquakes, but is it possible for prayer to create a movement of God which imitates this geological event?

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose, Acts 16:25-26.

Over the past thirty years, I’ve witnessed my own series of answered prayers, healing and miracles.  Although I’ve never experienced anything like these 2 stories in the Bible, I have sensed God’s presence.  During intense periods of prayer and moving worship services in the past, my heart, soul and mind have been energized by an invisible presence.  If you draw close enough to God, perhaps you too will encounter a spiritual earthquake inspired by the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Overwhelmed by Priorities

Every day when I arise from sleep, my mind is overwhelmed by the choices at hand.  Do I read?  Should I write?  Perhaps I need to work out?  Maybe hitting the snooze button and rolling over is my best option.  Either way, the choices you make will dictate the path your life takes.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. – Luke 12:34

Like most years, my New Years Resolutions are being modified as desires to lose weight, eat healthy and draw closer to God have fallen short.  Sometimes I feel as if I am in a tug of war, pulled in a direction I don’t want to go, yet over time I submit, dragged to a new low.  By enduring these trials, I am beginning to comprehend the words of the apostle Paul as he explains how the sinful nature can influence one’s priorities.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. – Romans 7:15

When Jeremiah opened his mouth to Israel, negative messages usually came forth.  Thus, this servant of God was nicknamed the weeping prophet.  If you too feel depressed, frustrated or lost, there are some promises in the Bible to cling to.  Lamentations 3:20-24 suggests God’s forgiveness is new every morning.  Therefore, if you fail to keep the priorities that you hold dear, may God’s grace lift you up each time you fall.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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