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Tag Archives: encountering angels

Vain and Perilous Resistance

If you have ever experienced what I call a God instance, recalling this account to others often unveils bizarre details. In the passage below, I stumbled upon the most detailed version of Saul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. While explaining his new allegiance to Jewish leaders and Pharisees, the apostle Paul reveals the words spoken to him from heaven. Instead of listening to conviction from the Holy Spirit, Saul was persistent to hold on to his religious upbringing. Instead of embracing Jesus’ teaching, Saul kept kicking against the goads through a vain and perilous resistance.

And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice in the Hebrew tongue saying to me, Saul, Saul, why do you continue to persecute Me [to harass and trouble and molest Me]? It is dangerous and turns out badly for you to keep kicking against the goads [to keep offering vain and perilous resistance], Acts 26:14.

When you are raised to adhere to, believe and follow a certain set of values, outside opinions usually fall upon deaf ears. Similar to Paul, I grew up Catholic, raised in a strict Roman Catholic church. While I did learn to fear God at an early age, the love of Jesus in the New Testament was rarely emphasized. Thus, as I began to be introduced to Christians who were actively participating in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10, I didn’t know how to respond. God used nightmares in the form of a reoccurring dream of dying over a two year period which finally brought me to my knees, giving up my own vain and perilous resistance.

Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me, Revelation 3:19-20.

Today, we live in an age of resistance. For the past three years, Democrats, Liberals and Progressives have failed to accept the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election. Instead of learning from their failed attempt to elect the first female president, Hillary Clinton, a resistance campaign has been executed daily with impeachment as the latest plan to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, when individuals fail to embrace the reality of truth, no substitute will do. No matter how hard you may try fill the void in your heart with earthly hobbies, pastimes and treasures, peace won’t be found until vain and perilous efforts to resist God ends. In the passage above, John has a vision of a special door. Heaven’s side doesn’t have a door handle, only a knocker, trying to get our attention on earth. While God knocks, only you can let the Lord in. May this blog inspire you to end vain and perilous resistance by accepting God’s free gift, Romans 6:23.

by Jay Mankus

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Angels Waiting for a Prayer

In this politically correct world certain words have been phased out, too ignorant and harsh for this generation to hear.  One of these banished words is pig-headed, meaning stubborn.  Unfortunately, I tend to bang my head against the door hoping for a different outcome like a starving pig, doing whatever it takes to pick up the last scrap of food.  Perhaps, I need to take a new approach, shifting my focus toward prayer with the hope that an angel is awaiting on a prayer to act.

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out, Acts 5:19.

Throughout the Bible, angels magically appear after someone prayers.  Whenever an apostle was arrested or imprisoned, the local church began to pray.  While not every prayer resulted in a miracle, angels rescued Peter from jail twice.  Though a scientist may dispute this theory, unable to directly link angels to prayer, its not that far fetched to consider that angels are waiting for specific instructions in the form of prayers.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, Psalm 91:11.

According to author of Psalm 91, God created angels to guard and protect individuals.  This invisible force isn’t something people should experience once in a life time.  Rather, the Psalmist suggests angels are meant to guide you in all your ways on earth.  Therefore, the more believers in the supernatural begin to offer up requests, angels waiting for a prayer can respond immediately like the accounts in the Bible.  If you’re like me, disappointed by your current state in life, then maybe you’re a prayer away from ushering angels into action.

by Jay Mankus

Exchanging Fear With Joy

In Luke 2:8-9, an ordinary group of people have a supernatural encounter with angelic beings.  These blue collar workers. shepherds in a field, were interrupted from their daily responsibility of overseeing their master’s sheep.  As bright lights shined on their face, each was gripped with fear, paralyzing their bodies as each dropped to their knees trying to protect their eyes the glory of the Lord.

Noticing their response, the angel sent by God brings a message of hope to a dark night in verses 10-12.  According to Luke 2:13, a great company of heavenly hosts appear.  The Greek word Luke chooses is stratus, referring to layers and layers of angels in the skies.  This event doesn’t happen at church or in temple, rather God celebrates Jesus’ birth out in the open.  Somewhere in between Luke 2:9 and Luke 2:14, the shepherds exchange their fear with joy as the angel sang praises to God.

Unfortunately, this simple story has been neglected, overlooked due to modern practices of this holiday.  Christmas is not about exchanging gifts, receiving items that you either don’t need or have too much of.  Rather, Christmas is spiritual practice of exchanging your earthly fears with the joy of Jesus entering the world.  Romans 5:6-8 highlights the true meaning of Jesus’ birth, coming to earth and dying as a perfect sacrifice so that the fear of death is eliminated.  May the promise of John 3:16 transform for you the purpose and meaning of Jesus on this Christmas Day.

by Jay Mankus

The Promised Angel

Dramas like Touched by An Angel and Joan of Arcadia brought to light the concept of guardian angels.  From 1993 to 2004, Hollywood used Monica, Tess and Andrew to portray  what it would be like to encounter one of God’s servants.  As one show faded, another took its place in prime time, inspired by the song What if God was One of Us? Airing from 2003-2005, Joan of Arcadia gave teenagers a glimpse of how obeying God’s advice could impact the lives of an entire community.

The Bible introduces readers to a promised angel in Exodus 23:20-33.  According to Moses, God’s plan included a guardian angel for the nation of Israel.  The purpose of this heavenly visitor was to guide God’s people toward the promised land.  However, like anything else in life, freewill is in play, allowing individuals to choose to listen or disregard this angel’s directions.  It’s no wonder that Israel took 40 years to make it to a land flowing with milk and honey.  Taking God’s messenger seriously may have cut their time in half or possibly reduced their journey to 1 month, if only they had believed and obeyed.

While angelic stories continue today, Jesus promised to send a mighty counselor to earth after his ascension into heaven, John 16:5-15, known as the Holy Ghost.  Following Pentecost in Acts 2, an angel freed Peter from prison like a scene from a modern movie in Acts 12:5-14.  Unfortunately, faith is wavering today as unbelief has caused many to doubt God has the power to repeat history by ushering angels onto the scene and into our lives.  May the Spirit of Christmas transform your soul, helping you realize the wonderful life you have thereby embracing the angel by your side.

by Jay Mankus

The 12 Vibes to Spiritual Discernment

 
In a world of vanishing absolutes, civil citizens, good behavior and honesty are nearing extinction.  Instead, people are blaming bad luck, extreme circumstances and a poor economy for their crude and rude habits.  If there was ever a time to access solid advice, the 12 vibes of discernment are available to help steer you in the right direction.  Conceived by the Extra Ordinary Faith Bible Study curriculum, this list has been provided below like a check list used to process information before you accept or decline advice for life.
1. Your Conscience
This first vibe is indirectly mentioned in Galatians 5:16-18.  When the apostle Paul refers to the acts of the sinful nature being obvious, he is likely referring to the built in vibe God has placed within the human mind.  Whenever guilt expresses itself in a “I shouldn’t be doing this moment,” your conscience is trying to tell you to drop the forbidden fruit you have tasted.
2. Godly Influences
While not easy to find in a society filled with hypocrites, “do as I say, not as I do,” this second vibe requires effort on your part to seek out people who have experienced similar trials in life.  When you find the right person, you will be drawn toward ideal conditions like a young Samuel who needed Eli to point him toward God, 1 Samuel 3:1-10.
3. Knowledge and Vision
When a person loses their sense of purpose in life, depression, hopelessness and missteps often follow.  According to one of the minor Old Testament prophets, people perish, destroyed by a lack of knowledge or vision depending upon the translation you use, Hosea 4:6.  These 2 attributes help individuals see the big picture, bringing their life into focus, communicated by an encourager or optimistic leader you need to invest your time hanging around.
4. Reading the Bible
On the outside, the Bible appears like any other book.  However, this special collection of history contains supernatural powers, living and active according to Hebrews 4:12.  In fact, faith comes from hearing and or reading this book, Romans 10:17.  This instructional guide for life provides the human soul with knowledge and vision not found in this world.
5. An Accountability Partner
Like having a personal trainer, its essential to have someone who is blunt, challenging and inspires you to reach your full potential.  However, this suitable helper will take an unswerving desire and countless hours to locate a compatible personality.  This is the most difficult vibe to obtain, yet once established, its the most rewarding, Proverbs 27:17.
6. Through Prayer
Although many new comers to prayer treat God as if going grocery shopping, talking to the Lord at the check out counter, Psalm 34:18 gives any rookie comfort.  Before you start, make sure you isolate yourself in a place without any distractions.  If you stop talking for a moment by listening to God, you might even experience a Mark 1:35-38 like moment.
7. Weeping and Fasting
When prayer appears to stall, some have turned to weeping and fasting, Nehemiah 1:3-4.  In a sense, this is taking prayer to the next level, crying out to God with emotion, following in the footsteps of David, Psalm 4:1.  For those unable to fast, the Daniel Fast, eating only fruit, vegetables and water for 21 days should suffice.  As your heart is broken by the things that break God’s heart, this vibe will likely result in answers, discernment or both.
8. Accessing the Holy Spirit
Unfortunately, most men are like me, not wanting to read the directions of gifts they have to assemble.  On the other hand, first time mothers taking their newborn back home face a similar challenge, “what do I do know?”  The phenomena known as spiritual wisdom is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, accessible through the mind of Christ, Ephesians 2:6-8.  When you pray the promise of 2 Peter 1:3-4, the power of the Holy Spirit can be unleashed in your life.
9. Divine Intervention
At your weakest moment, God has a history of sending angels to the rescue, like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:6-9.  Missionary testimonies are filled with amazing encounters with angelic forces sent to save their lives or minister to them, Matthew 4:11.  The power of prayer can usher guardian angels into action, protecting God’s people from the schemes of the devil.
10. Through Meditation
Unlike New Age and Yoga practices, Christian meditation refers to concentrating on and memorizing the Bible, Joshua 1:8.  The best cure for sin is living according to God’s principles by hiding scripture within your heart, Psalm 119:9-11.  When you practice the words of Romans 12:1-2, God’s will for your life becomes clear and attainable.
11. During Worship
If you have ever reached a point of desperation, there are examples of believers who encountered God while participating in worship services, Acts 13:2-3.  Whenever you add fasting or prayer to this equation, God’s vibes are dialed in like having 4G.
12. Through Dreams
Whether your experience is like a book or a movie, when all other measures appear to fail, God uses angels or a still small voice to communicate his message through dreams, Matthew 2:13; 2:19-20.  As you test everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, to make sure your dream is relevant, you should be able to use these spiritual vibes as a measuring stick for discernment.
by Jay Mankus

Angel #9

If you have ever seen something that defies logic, you might rationalize this occurrence due to chance, coincidence or dumb luck.  However, when similar events begin to multiple, echoes of the supernatural must be brought into your discussion.  Such is the case of my experiences in youth ministry, with one particular encounter, early on a Monday morning in the fall of 1993.

As a result of the mini-revival taking place in Columbus, Indiana, during the summer of my first year there, students requested several ministry opportunities to grow their faith.  A leadership team and weekly training began, an accountability group started in the fall as did a Life Application Bible Study at the local McDonald’s near school.  One student leader mentioned the importance of starting off each week on the right foot with God’s Word.  Like anything, the crowds were higher in the beginning, squeezing 20 students in the back corner of this restaurant.  However, time whittled the group down to 6-12 regular attenders.  This core had the honor to encounter the woman I call angel number 9.

At this point of the year, student’s had begun to fall back into bad habits, struggling to find time for God.  Thus, like a reality show with weekly eliminations, only the true believers stuck it out til the end.  Roughly halfway through my lesson, a woman in her late 40’s politely asked if she could interrupt me for a moment.  With a heavenly voice, full of joy, she commended each student for their commitment to studying the Bible.  Although her message lasted only a minute, the encouraging words she shared lifted up those in attendance.

After the study, a few students students stayed behind for a few minutes taking about this woman.  No one had ever seen her, strange for a small town of 25,000 people.  Before I left a year later, no one that I know had scene her since.  This dilemma led several to question, was she real or a messenger from God?  Out of no where, 9 minutes past of the hour, these teenagers were blessed to receive a divine message.  Who else could this stranger be except for Angel #9.

by Jay Mankus

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