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Tag Archives: God’s favor

Is God Really on Your Side?

Two weeks ago a speech during a protest in Southern California set social media on fire.  United States representative Maxine Waters turned her small podium into a pulpit stirring members of the audience.  When I heard the initial audio of this message, Waters sounded like a preacher speaking to the choir as the crowds chimed back in agreement.  Beside encouraging supporters to harass members of president Trump’s political team, there was one other statement that got my attention.  Representative Waters believed she was doing God’s work with the Lord on her side.  This comment led me to ponder, how do you know if God is truly on your side?

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

After his conversion from Judaism to faith in Christ, first century believers initially thought Saul from Tarsus was merely pretending as a plot to destroy the apostles and disciples of Jesus.  This surprising development perplexed his fellow Jews, especially after overseeing the death of Stephen in Acts 7 and further persecution by ravaging church members in Acts 8.  I guess you can say Saul who became the apostle Paul played both sides of the fence until the Holy Spirit transformed his ways.  According to Acts 9:23-25, the Jewiish leaders quickly turned on Saul, plotting to kill Saul.  After escaping death, Paul’s missionary trips throughout the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe clearly demonstrated that God was on Paul’s side.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:6.

In the days of the Old Testament, God’s favor was recognized through a series of blessings, Deuteronomy 29:1-14.  While some may rationalize a few good breaks as lucky, those who live in accordance with God’s commands receive special anointings.  Eye witnesses of these individuals referred to their encounters as if God was walking by their side.  Meanwhile, the New Testament uses a different standard.  God will bring to completion the gifts, resources and talents of those who remain faithful and true to God’s calling.  Spiritual harvests are a sign that God is with specific people.  While time will tell if God is on Maxine Waters’ side, don’t leave this up to chance. Rather, set out to be a good and faithful servant to that which God has given you.  If you do, you will receive eternal crowns in heaven while letting your actions do the taking for you.

by Jay Mankus

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Why Did This Happen?

Since the Las Vegas mass shooting at the Harvest Country Music Festival on the evening of October 1st, 2017, everyone in the media is asking why did this happen?  As investigators begin combing through physical evidence, this reason for this evil act is still unknown.  While a timeline is being recreated, it’s hard to logically explain how someone could violently gun down so many.  Perhaps, the Bible can shed some light behind the mindset of a murderer.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:6-7.

The first murder ever recorded occurs due to jealousy as a younger brother’s success becomes a motive for murder.  While Cain struggled to make ends meat as a farmer, God blessed Adam’s shepherding business.  When it came time to bring forth first fruits, similar to a modern day tithe, Abel had plenty to offer.  Meanwhile, Cain’s offering did not receive God’s favor.  As jealousy began to spread within his heart, the Lord confronts Cain in the passage above.

 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation,” Matthew 12:43-45.

When impure thoughts enter your mind, you have one of two choices.  You can listen to evil or take your thoughts captive by ruling over them.  This ongoing battle doesn’t take breaks so you may resist the first time, but as you grow tried and weary, individuals begin to give into temptation.  The passage above eludes to addiction as bad choices lead to a life style.  Once hooked on something, spirits often overwhelm weak souls.  In the case of Cain, once the idea of getting rid of the competition, his brother, it was only a matter of time.  Perhaps, Stephen Paddock allowed impure spirits to enter his body inspiring the murderous rampage he went on.  Although time will uncover more evidence, this blog gives a brief biblical explanation of why this tragic event happened.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Hand Behind the Plan

The origin of the hand of God likely began during the reign of King Belshazzar.  Following the Babylonian’s conquest of Israel and subsequent exile, the hand of God arrived on the scene.  This event could not be explained by modern enchanters, astrologers and diviners.  Thus, Daniel was recommended to interpret the hand behind these words.

Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote, Daniel 5:5.

In the years that have followed, there is just as much confusion now as then.  Few people today have the spiritual insight like Daniel possessed.  Whether its an anointing, keen awareness or special training, recognizing the hand of God in any aspect of life is difficult.  Those who knew Daniel referred to his ability as having the spirit of the gods within him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 1 Peter 5:6.

Today, many false prophets exist, claiming to know the hand behind God’s plan.  However, if you read their books, follow their teaching and test these predictions, inconsistencies abound.  In view of this dilemma, its better to follow the words of the apostle Paul above.  The Old Testament is filled with examples of God humbling the proud and lifting up the meek.  Thus, whether you are able to discern the hand of God or not, remember to stay humble and God’s favor will fall upon you.

by Jay Mankus

The Invisible Yield

Yield signs are usually found at the intersection where roads merge.  Typically, one road deadends into another, warning drivers of possible oncoming traffic.  Instead of a sign, some states use flashing red lights that serve the same purpose.  However, when two individuals meet, there is no sign.  Rather, there is an invisible set of unspoken rules.

But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble,” James 4:6.

When it comes to submission, especially for woman, times have changed.  Perhaps, the world is trying to cancel the truths of the Bible, referring to it as sexist and out of date.  Whatever the reason, submission in the spiritual sense is like obeying an invisible yield sign.  This act is symbolic of humility, opening the door for God’s favor.  Considering others more important than your own needs and wants honors the invisible yield.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, Philippians 2:3.

The greatest obstacle to submitting to God is the “what’s in it for me” mindset.  This mentality is aided by the notion what have you done for me lately God?  This selfish consciousness blinds many from putting others first.  Subsequently, a me first focus permeates throughout most cultures.  This byproduct has deteriorated ethics, morals and standards nationwide.  Only a spiritual transformation will change this current trend and lead to the invisible yield, submitting to God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Someone Else Needs This More Than You

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I received new insight about the hand of God in adversity.  I caught a glimpse of a woman reflecting upon her childhood.  After making the cheer leading squad as a 7th grader, she was cut in 8th grade.  Sobbing in her room that night, the words her father shared transformed her perspective about life.  “Honey, you had a great time last year and you’re a confident person.  Perhaps, there is another girl who is struggling with her self esteem and needs to be a cheer leader more than you.”

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.  How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24

A former colleague of mine were reminiscing yesterday at Starbucks about our years in teaching.  Some days were good, others bad and there were many that didn’t make much sense at all.  Maybe this is what Solomon is implying in the passage above.  While individuals may think they are in control,  the Lord throws the occasional curve ball in to mix things up, directing people closer to where God wants you to be.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that,” James 4:14-15.

From the time I entered high school to my days in graduate school, every job that I applied for I got.  For some reason, God blessed me over and over again like the favor of Joseph in the Old Testament.  Yet, when I moved back to Delaware, God has sprinkled in failure more than once.  While this could be due to my age, a lack of dedication or a faith that is slipping, there is one good logical explanation for all the pain that I have endured.  Someone else needed what I wanted more than me.

by Jay Mankus

 

When You Begin to Lose God’s Favor

When the outcome to a day, week or year does not end as you expect, hoped for and seek, there are various explanations to consider.  Perhaps, its not your time to receive what you desire.  Maybe others are more qualified or simply worked harder than you.  However, at some point you might have to consider that you are losing God’s favor.

He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything, Luke 15:16.

A first century doctor recounts a parable shared by Jesus.  This story illustrates how its possible to lose God’s favor.  Instead of waiting for his father’s inheritance, the prodigal son forced the issue.  This thirst for earthly riches led to a chain of events resulting in one bad decision after the other.  Before this young man knew it, the prodigal was broke, homeless and longed to eat the sloop fed to unclean pigs.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD‘s purpose that prevails, Proverbs 19:21.

Whenever you hit rock bottom, the first step to recovery is coming to your senses.  Once former thoughts of rationalizing sin disappear, individuals can begin to acknowledge their wayward steps.  Thus, the best way to repair your relationship with God starts with confession, humility and public apologies.  If you’re struggling to grasp why things are going your way in life, may the Holy Spirit enlighten you so that you can regain God’s favor.

by Jay Mankus

Seeking God First…Maybe Second…Actually Third

Good intentions and reality are two different things.  My daily routine is a good example of this paradox.  My goal to seek God first daily doesn’t always work out as I plan.  Most days God falls out of the top spot, sliding down to second, third or lower.  How I spend or waste time will ultimately reveal where my heart and mind is.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows, Galatians 6:7.

The apostle Paul was never known to beat around the bush.  Thus, his words serve as a wake up call, putting my own actions on trial.  Despite what the world may believe, God can’t be fooled.  Receiving blessings isn’t automatic.  Rather, what comes around, goes around as individuals reap what they sow.  Therefore, the lower I place God in my priorities, the less I can expect from the Lord in return.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

Despite my failure, Jesus did leave a blue print to help people get back on track.  During the Sermon on the Mount, two things must happen before one can achieve God’s favor.  First, serving others, with eternity in mind must come first.  In addition, individuals should hunger and thirst for righteousness, eager to draw closer and closer to God.  Only when these two principles are carried out, will individuals begin to experience daily bread, like manna from heaven entering your life.  Until then, resolve to seek Jesus first.

by Jay Mankus

 

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