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Actions Affect Access

Since I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, I was taught to go confession whenever I made a mistake, messed up or sinned.  Initially, this meant going to a confessional booth.  However, as I got older I meet face to face with a priest.  After bearing my soul, I was usually told to say x amount of Hail Mary’s or Our Father’s, then I would be forgiven.

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! – Isaiah 1:15

Looking back, this practice doesn’t make sense.  Then again, I was also encouraged not to challenge authority so I conformed until college.  Through Bible studies, conferences and retreats, I learned that my actions affect access to God.  While you have to be careful not to fall into an Old Testament view of God, acts of contrition following confession is a essential.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, James 5:16.

The prophet Isaiah first informed the Jews that there are conditions when God will not listen to your prayers.  Unconfessed sin is like a barrier that blocks your connection with God.  Without genuine repentance people will experience periods of mundane prayer where the Holy Spirit is absent.  Following the model displayed in James 5:16 can awaken the Spirit of God.  If you want to improve your spiritual Wi-Fi connection with God, think twice before giving into temptation since actions affect access.

by Jay Mankus

Bitterness or Sweet?

Depending upon how well your are connected in your community or at work, it doesn’t take much to notice the content from the disenfranchised.  Some people feed off of bitterness, often poisoning positive individuals.  Meanwhile, the encouraging need to work extra hard to ward off negativity.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; Hebrews 12:15.

When my children  were younger, I enjoyed watching Veggie Tales.  My favorite was the Rumor Weed illustrating an important lesson for anyone.  If you allow evil to take root in your life, bitterness usually follows.  For this reason, the author Hebrews warns readers about how bitterness can become an obstacle to obtaining God’s grace.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

Sweetness is received when sinners are forgiven, pardoned by God through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Yet, there are forces of darkness that continue to steal joy from this life.  As demonic influences manipulate unknowing accomplices, some are deceived calling evil good.  If you listen and watch carefully to voices in the media, Isaiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled.  In view of this growing bitterness, may the power of the Holy Spirit protect you and lead you to the sweet promises of hope found in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

Someone Will Always Have It Worse Than You

Last week I spent a few days at A.I. Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware.  This is one of the premiere facilities on the East Coast for young people struggling with crippling illnesses.  When my son Daniel arrived at the hospital, his blood sugar level as at 1000, the highest A.I. had ever received was 700.  Anything over 300 is considered dangerous.  Thus, despite all my family went through last week at least my son is alive.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven, James 5:14-15.

Passing by several rooms, I encountered children in much worse shape than Daniel.  While diabetes is life altering, at least it can be treated.  There are countless battling for their lives, not knowing if and when their condition will worsen.  I guess the last 7 days has helped me put life into its proper perspective.  I learned that someone will always have it worse than you.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul, 3 John 1:2.

One of the benefits of working at Amazon is that I engage several generations on a weekly basis.  Some associates are fresh out of high school, others trying to find their place in life and others forced out of retirement to receive healthcare.  Although everyone has good, bad and indifferent days, if you open your eyes you will always find someone worse off than you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Project Afterlife

Yesterday,  I wrote a blog called When the Holy Spirit Takes Over.  Little did I know that these exact words were used by a doctor who helped raise a man from the dead in the pilot episode of Project Afterlife.  Following in the footsteps of It’s a Miracle on Pax Television, Destination America’s new show interviews eyewitnesses and individuals who have died for a short period of time before coming back to life.

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security, Jeremiah 33:6.

About a year ago, I started a conversation with a co-worker.  Taking an unusual, yet interesting turn, this man revealed that years earlier he died and came back to life.  Arrested for underage drinking, this teenager died in the back of a cop car.  Although his memory is blurred, the next thing he remembers is waking in a hospital bed.  Due to his severe condition, the police officer never issued a ticket, giving him a second chance just as God gave this man a new lease on life.

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven, James 5:15.

There will always be skeptics of healing, miracles and raising someone from the dead.  Especially, if you believe the Spirit pored out upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost ceased following their deaths, limited to first century apostles.  Yet, if you check out Project Afterlife next Sunday night at 10pm eastern time, maybe your beliefs will be swayed.  Either way, sit back, listen to the testimonies shared and be open to the healing power of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

 

Dr. Md; Is There a Doctor in the House?

Illness can be a mystery, especially when no obvious symptoms are present.  One day you feel great; the next you struggle to get out of bed.  As more and more doctors retire after a generation of service, the desperate will continue to cry out for help, “is there a doctor in the house?”

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.- James 5:15

Since 2012, I’ve battled a severe sinus infection that I can’t seem to shake.  Headaches, fevers and periods of fatigue have whittled away my faith of ever improving.  Perhaps, my condition are side affects from lyme disease that I first contracted in 1999.  Whatever the reason for my recent ailments, I pray that a doctor will come to my rescue with the correct diagnosis and cure.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. – 3 John 1:2

Nonetheless, sometimes God allows a person to suffer without any signs of recovery.  According to 2 Corinthians 12:7, the Lord struck the apostle Paul with a thorn in his flesh.  This condition prevented Paul from becoming proud during his successful ministry on earth.  Despite crying out for healing, his request did not get answered.  Although I am currently waiting for insight, all I can do is trust God that one day soon my pain will fade away.

by Jay Mankus

 

Living Life in Your Rear View Mirror

Although many people enjoy playing the role of Monday morning quarterback, some are haunted by prior mistakes.  Like a back up quarterback who is adored until they get in the game, an embarrassing moment while in the spotlight can stay with individuals for years.  Every time someone tries to move on, the stains of time appear in the rear view mirror.

As for me, I can think of several days I would like to forget or get a mulligan to do over.  One of things I regret the most in life  is not telling one of my best friends from high school the reason for my new found joy.  Before I had another open invitation to share my faith, she died of cancer.  This image returns in various forms such as her favorite songs, topics of previous conversations and visions of a precious smile.  Even when you try, its hard to let go of pain from your past.

A common theme professed by pastors in history refer to the devil reminding sinners of their past.  Once preoccupied by guilt, remorse and shame, new believers are unable to experience the new beginning promised by Jesus.  Thus, souls live in fear, with one eye on the future and the other in their rear view mirror.  May any of you stuck in the past experience a resurrected spirit, washed by the blood of the Lamb, Colossians 2:13-15.

by Jay Mankus

 

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