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Tag Archives: Elisha

Before Anything Gets Lost It Becomes Loose

Initial signs that there may be something wrong in your life are subtle. Normal wear and tear may result in an occasional squeak or rattle. These vague warning signals may be ignored if time constraints, exhaustion or pressure exists. Unless routine maintenance is performed, cars, possessions, relationships and souls will continue to deteriorate. If no action is taken, things will become loose, fall off and get lost if neglected.

So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down [some of] the trees. But it happened that as one was cutting down a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Oh no, my master! It was borrowed!” – 2 Kings 6:4-5

In the Old Testament, a servant of Elisha began to chomp down some trees along the banks of the Jordan River. The sound of each power HACK, one after another drowned out any hint that this axe was about to break. Borrowed from a neighbor, this servant wasn’t treating this tool in a malicious manner. Rather, the thought of clearing a small section of woods next to the river brought on adrenaline to get this job done as soon as possible.

The man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in there, and made the iron [axe head] float. He said, “Pick it up for yourself.” So he reached out with his hand and took it, 2 Kings 6:6-7.

Nobody knows the exact time or place when one of your possessions will break. In a span of a few weeks, two cars that I was driving broke down on three different occasions, the last on Interstate 95 this year. How you respond to these unfortunate events will reveal your true character. The only description of this servant in the passage above is a man of God. Instead of complaining, this man immediately turned to prayer and a prophet for help. In an instant, that which was lost is found. May this blog awaken you to the principle before something gets lost it becomes loose.

by Jay Mankus

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A Story of Persistence: The Untold Story of Tabassco Sauce

Avery Island is located on the Vermilion Bay, 3 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.  In the 1840’s, former Maryland banker Edmund McIIhenny moved to this island.  Hoping to live off the land, McIIhenny tried to plant various crops.  Unfortunately, the salt dome underneath the soil only yielded peppers.  During a famine in the 1850’s, most of the residents left, abandoning this island.  Trying to figure out what to do with all of these pepper plants, Edmund began to experiment.  By the 1860’s, McIIhenny developed a hot sauce which tasted good on everything that he eat.  Initially, collecting discarded cologne bottles left behind, Edmund shared his discovery with family and friends.  By 1868 Tabassco Sauce was marketed and sold to the public, using bottles from a New Orleans glass supplier.  Five generations later, Tabassco Sauce remains a household name across the country and throughout the world.

But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the LORD came on Elisha 16and he said, “This is what the LORD says: I will fill this valley with pools of water, 2 Kings 3:15-16.

During the reign of Jehoshaphat, Israel faced a similar famine.  Unsure what to do, the king brought in a reliable prophet to provide insight on what to do.  After requesting a musician for inspiration, Elisha received a clear message from God.  However, this command didn’t make sense initially, “dig a ditch.”  Perhaps Jehoshaphat asked for more specific instructions, but the gist of this advice was to start digging in the desert.  While Avery Island contains a salt dome, this desert floor revealed underground springs like Palm Springs, California.  This vital resource provided ample water for animals, cattle and everyone in the kingdom.  Instead of abandoning this region, God provided for Israel in their time of need.

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you, Luke 6:38.

According to Jesus’ little brother, God uses trials to test the faith of human beings, James 1:2-6.  While most people talk a good game, you never know how you are going to react until you are thrust into turmoil.  Edmund McIIhenny could have left Avery Island like many of his former neighbors.  Jehoshaphat could have surrendered to an enemy in exchange for food and water.  Yet, both men persisted, sticking things out until each figured out and completed their purpose on earth.  McIIhenny waited almost 30 years before he realized why he came to Avery Island.  As you read this blog, maybe you are experiencing your own arid season, frustrated and on the verge of quitting.  Before you make any decision, remember the promise of James 1:12 so that a steadfast spirit will carry you on until you experience the fruits of persistence.

by Jay Mankus

More Than Just A Ditch

If you have ever visited Palm Springs, California, you will see a series of concrete channels.  While this desert region only receives between 2-5 inches of rainfall annually, these man made ditches serve a purpose.  When the rare storm hits this area, water quickly runs off of the surrounding San Jacinto mountains into the Coachella Valley.  Without these flood canals, portions of the city would be washed away.  Although an eye sore to residents and visitors at times, the construction of these ditches collect and restore water levels to this oasis in southern California.

But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink, 2 Kings 3:15-17.

During the reign of  Jehoshaphat, the prophet Elisha visits the king of Judea.  Asking for a musician, the melody of a harpist inspires a prophecy from the Lord.  Unusual at first, God commands Judea to dig at ditch in the middle of a desert.  Void of air conditioning and state of the art construction equipment, citizens began this project by hand and whatever tools available.  Similar to the springs underneath the desert in California, water began to fill each ditch dug.  When God asks you to do something that doesn’t make sense, sometimes you have to exercise your faith until you see the benefits of your hard labor.

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable, Romans 11:29.

Unfortunately, many people don’t receive special gifts or unique callings.  Rather, you have to grind your way through life, often blindly trusting God through confusing and dark periods.  Like Dory’s character in the Finding Nemo film, instead of following her just keep swimming command, God wants his followers to keep digging.  This may get boring from time to time, but you never know when you are going to hit gold.  Therefore, keep the faith as what God is doing through you is more than just digging a ditch.  As long as you remain faithful, springs of joy are bound to rise up at any moment.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Earning the Anointing

Sometimes the Bible doesn’t make sense when you read it.  Although, the puzzling questions can often be explained by a better understanding of the context in which a passage takes place.  If you examine famous anointings in the Old Testament, there are one of two scenarios that take place.  Either individuals had to wait an extended period prior to the fulfillment of the anointing or people earned the right to be blessed by God due to years of faithful service.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.

Prior to his anointing as the next king of Israel, God prepared David while serving as a shepherd in the fields.  Elisha spent a decade as a farmer and servant to Elijah before receiving a double portion of faith.  Meanwhile, Ruth endured the pain and poverty of a widow before being rescued by her kinsman redeemer.  While salvation can not be earned, faithfulness opens the door to receive a special anointing from God.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

Anointings can be like following sports.  At the beginning of any season, its hard to tell who will win the championship.  Yet, as time goes by dedication, hard work and perseverance separates contenders from pretenders.  In the same way, God sees the hearts of individuals.  Since appearances can be deceiving, God examines hearts and souls to see who has earned the right to be anointed and or blessed by the Lord.  May your faith be rewarded.

by Jay Mankus

 

Making Room for God’s Servants

Churches, temples and other places of worship ask their members to pitch in.  This typically involves gifts, offerings and tithes to help maintain buildings, ministry needs and running costs.  Yet, in the early days of any congregation, sacrifices and time are crucial.  Those who see the big picture often make room for God’s servants.

She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God.  Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us,” 2 Kings 4:9-10.

In the Old Testament, there’s an account of a woman who came up with a selfless idea.  Not wanting to act alone, she shared this with her husband, convincing him to put an addition on their home.  When construction was completed, she left on open invitation to the prophet Elisha to stay whenever he was in the area.  This act of kindness was repaid by the Lord.

“About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!” – 2 Kings 4:16

The symbolism of a barren woman in the Bible represents a lack of blessing from God.  Meanwhile, those who give birth to multiple children are deemed to have God’s favor.  The context of the passage above suggests this woman was well beyond the age of child bearing.  Despite this fact, Elisha promises the impossible, the miracle of a future son.  While not every kind act of repaid in full, the Lord honors those who make room for God’s servants.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Do You Make Money Last?

One of the most famous passages in the Bible pertaining to money is found in 2 Kings.  An apprentice of Elisha dies, leaving behind a widow and two sons in debt.  As creditors are eager to collect the overdue interest, this woman seeks out wisdom from the prophets.  Probably feeling foolish initially, she follows their directions, filling up jars of oil one at a time.  In fact based upon Elisha’s words, this oil would flow until she ran out of jars.  Although not money, the Lord supernaturally provided oil until her debts were paid off in full.

When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing, 2 Kings 4:6.

My grandmother possessed similar wisdom as an immigrant to this country.  A survivor of World War II, she displayed frugality to her children despite how strange it may appear to today.  First, she placed plastic over every couch, sofa and mattress to ensure it would last.  Second, each spring she planted a large garden on the side of the house to lessen the cost of groceries.  Finally, to avoid going into debt, she opted to walk to work rather than drive a car, finding a nursing position at a hospital in town.  Looking back, my grandmother was the queen of stretching money as far as it could go.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it, Malachi 3:10.

Today, the times may not be as bleak, yet expenses continue to mount.  Added necessities such as cell phone bills, cable, the internet and insurances tend to suck up monthly pay checks before you or a savings account has a chance to enjoy it.  Subsequently, budgets are created to promote discipline and good spending habits.  Yet, even this can’t make money last.  Beside finding the dream job or a position with ample pay, the answer lies in the principle of tithing.  Somehow and someway, as individuals begin to give back to God the first fruits He deserves, an unexplainable miracle occurs, God provides.  Whatever your financial situation may be, may God reveal to you storehouses in heaven as you fully tithe.

by Jay Mankus

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