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Tag Archives: Elijah

The Comfort and Encouragement of the Holy Spirit

A first century doctor makes an interesting observation about the Holy Spirit.  While initially described as the Holy Ghost in the original King James version of the Bible, Luke describes the feeling and sense new believers experienced following their baptism.  Despite being an invisible force, those who walked with God daily received an inner peace in the form of comfort and encouragement.  When I read the passage below for the first time, I pondered “what does it mean to walk in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit?”

So the church throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace [without persecution], being built up [in wisdom, virtue, and faith]; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it continued to grow [in numbers], Acts 9:31.

The term walking with God is found 62 times in the Bible.  One of the first references of this phrase occurs in the passage below, a command from God to Abram to activate his faith by arising and walking to fulfill God’s calling.  While Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 5:22 mentions that Enoch walked faithfully with God.  Subsequently, Enoch was spared death, taken up into heaven like Elijah.  Perhaps, this shines light on the comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit.

Arise, walk (make a thorough reconnaissance) around in the land, through its length and its width, for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram broke camp and moved his tent, and came and settled by the [grove of the great] terebinths (oak trees) of Mamre [the Amorite], which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to [honor] the Lord, Genesis 13:17-18.

The comfort and encouragement of the Holy Spirit could also originate from teachings from Moses.  Deuteronomy 28 lists acts that result in blessings and curses from God.  The blessing list lasts 14 verses, followed by 54 verses on curses due to acts of disobedience.  Common sense tells me that if you are walking with God or as the apostle Paul puts it in Galatians 5:25, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, blessings will abound.  Moses states in Deuteronomy 28:2 that” all these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you pay attention to the voice of the Lord your God.”  Therefore, as individuals walk with God, blessings will bring comfort and encouragement to ensure believers that you are on the right track.

by Jay Mankus

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A Sixth Sense

Prior to 1999, the sense of taste, touch, sight, smell and feel were the major focus of scientists.  However, following the release of the Sixth Sense featuring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment, elements of the supernatural have come to light.  Child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crow, played by Willis, fails to help a patient, discounting the voices he heard.  Thus, when he is hired to help Cole Sear, played by Joel, each discover the reality of a sixth sense.

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake, 1 Kings 19:11.

The prophet Elijah is one of the first to uncover a spiritual sixth sense.  Following an encounter with an angel, Elijah goes up on a mountainside waiting to hear a message God.  Like a science experiment, the Lord sends a series of natural phenomena: earthquake, wild fire and tornado.  Forced to sort through these events, Elijah came to the conclusion that God was not behind these three natural disasters.  Using discernment, Elijah waits patiently, eventually being rewarded by hearing God’s whisper.

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper, 1 Kings 19:12.

While I do not consider myself to be a prophet, I can relate to Cole from a spiritual sense.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to me when I read the Bible, enlightened by a new truth that is revealed.  Occasionally, I may have a dream, vision or sense things either during or after praying.  Yet, the moment I unplug from the Bible, prayer and worship, my sense of discernment disappears.  Therefore, if you want to draw near to God, stay connected to the vine, John 15:5 and you too will discover a spiritual sixth sense.

by Jay Mankus

 

Elijah’s Blueprint

Engineer’s rely on designs, diagrams and models to implement plans on construction projects.  Multi-level business schemes use similar blueprints to influence individuals to buy into their concept.  When someone follows the directions step by step, there is an inherit expectation of riches, success or both.  As for Elijah the prophet, he looked into the past, believing God could repeat a similar feat in his life time.

According to Leviticus 9:24, as soon as Aaron followed the directions given to him from Moses via God, the Lord sent fire from heaven consuming the offering on the altar.  Sound familiar?  Perhaps, this is Elijah’s blueprint, the place where he read and believed God would repeat this historic act.  I often wondered where his confidence came from and this passage suggests Elijah prepared his sacrifice just as Aaron and his sons followed Moses’ commands.

Understanding the past, makes the miracle in 1 Kings 18:38 that much more believable today.  If you carefully follow and obey God’s commands, blessings will follow, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.  Its as if Elijah, followed a playbook in 1 Kings 18:30-37, grasping Jesus’ promise in Matthew 21:21-22, fully expecting God to repeat this previous miracle after his prayer.  Sometime between Elijah’s Blueprint and Jesus’ promise, modern believers will find a living, loving God ready to unveil the next miracle on earth.

Has God done any miracles in your life?

by Jay Mankus

From a Mountain Top to the Valley of Despair

Throughout the course of history, unusual events have occurred which defy the laws of gravity.  Skeptics argue that reality has been embellished, like a fishing story, changing each time it is told.  Meanwhile, just when it appears you understand the mind of God, a twist of fate leaves you dumbfounded, unable to comprehend why something happened.

On top of Mount Carmel, like a classic western movie, Elijah challenges King Ahab’s prophets to a duel.  However, guns are replaced by fire, with the winner burning up the hopes of the loser’s god.  According to 1 Kings 18:36-39, Elijah was victorious as the Lord God answered his prayer, sending fire from heaven to consume a sacrifice soaked in water.  Unfortunately, this mountain top experience was short lived.

When a king is publicly embarrassed, it usually doesn’t go well for the man that brought him disgrace.  Being a poor loser, King Ahab complains to his wife, the most wicked woman in the kingdom, 1 Kings 19:1.  Not ready to accept defeat, Queen Jezebel fires back with a death threat, vowing to send a hitman to kill Elijah, 1 Kings 19:2.  Forgetting the power of God, Elijah ran down the mountain into a valley of despair, wanting to die than face this trial, 1 Kings 19:3-4.

The average person lives in this valley, where heartbreak, pain and setbacks are a daily occurrence.  A spirit of depression hovers over this valley, like a stationary dark cloud, waiting for winds of change.  However, the forecast for change looks bleak, leaving a state of hopelessness in your heart.

Dr. Love sends a messenger with a recipe for healing in 1 Kings 19:5-9.  Thinking out of the box, God sends an angel to fulfill this subscription of sleep.  Although Solomon urges people to avoid slumber in Proverbs, sometimes the best thing for depression is rest.  Getting up twice to eat, the food draws Elijah back into a deep sleep.  Once revitalized, its time to go back up the mountain.

Whether you are presently on the mountain top, half way or in the valley, God’s voice is only a whisper away, 1 Kings 19:10-13.  However, we need to get our lives straightened out before you can have full reception, Isaiah 1:15.  If you follow the directions in Isaiah 1:16-17, there is a wonderful promise of hope.  Don’t delay in fulfilling; Come reason with God today so you can rise on wings like eagles to the peak, Isaiah 40:31.

by Jay Mankus

Give Me A Clue Lord

Sometimes I feel as if life is an endless game show filled with segments of CharadesHangman and Wheel of Fortune.  Like a Nickelodeon late night rerun, I have moments where I feel as if I am acting out life just as God intended.  Unfortunately, there are other choices, decisions and errors I make which put me one step closer to game over.  Or there are days like today in which I am compelled to buy a vowel so I can begin to solve the puzzle staring at me.  In other words, give me a clue Lord.

The prophet Elijah had similar feelings in 1 Kings 19:10.  After receiving a death threat from Queen Jezebel, Elijah literally runs for his life without crying out to the Lord in prayer.  While on the run, Elijah begins to feel all alone, as if there is no one else on earth who understands what he is going through.  In this desperate state, the Lord gives Elijah a series of clues to bring him back on track, 1 Kings 19:11-13.

Besides fasting, prayer and reading the Bible, there is one clue most believers fail to notice or recognize, the whisper of God.  No, I am not talking about The Sixth Sense scene when Cole says, “I see dead people!”  Rather, I am referring to God’s still small voice, similar to a sheep being able to recognize their shepherd’s voice, John 10:4-5.  If you are paying attention to your surroundings, alert and sober, you will be more likely to discern what God wants you to do, respond or say, leading to more clues.

Like the search in the first National Treasure film, your quest for life’s answers can lead you on a wild goose chase.  In fact, those around you may even try to convince you to quit, giving up before you obtain your dream.  Nonetheless, this is when you have to dig down deep, cling to what you know is right and follow the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.  There will be distractions along the way, Matthew 7:13-14, but if you fully obey God’s commands, these clues will lead you to a promised land, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

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