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Tag Archives: encounters with God

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

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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

Waiting for a New Name

Benedict Arnold, John Wilkes Booth and Bernie Madoff are names associated with a negative connotation.  Poor choices in life led each to develop a bad reputation.  Unfortunately, when individuals commit an unwholesome act, many are unable to break free from the consequences of actions.  Thus, even today, many are waiting for a new name.

Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children, Genesis 32:11.

Once formed in high school or college, infamous nicknames can haunt people for years.  Indecent acts may result in being labeled as easy, loose or a whore.  Those who tend to exaggerate become known as liars, losing the trust of their peers.  While a few may be able to alter this stigma, most are stuck with the shame of their past.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome,” Genesis 32:28.

In Genesis 32, Jacob has an encounter with God.  Known as cunning, a deceiver and for being a momma’s boy, the Lord knew this character would not be a positive influence going forward to lead his chosen people.  Thus, following a night of wrestling, Jacob held on for dear life, earning him the name Israel.  In the same manner, those who enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ, Romans 10:9-10, are given a fresh start.  Therefore, if you’re waiting for a new name, hit the reset button today to receiving the free gift of eternal life.

by Jay Mankus

 

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