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Tag Archives: God’s providence

When the Future Looks Bleak God Does Intervene

There are many ways to explain favorable outcomes in life.  The confident will pass this off as hard work, preparation and flawless execution.  The humble often give others credit, expressing gratitude and thanksgiving for their success.  Meanwhile, there will be some who face a bleak future, with the odds stacked against them.  For those who stave off death, endure hardship or witness divine intervention, God’s timing is perfect.

That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him, Esther 6:1.

In the Old Testament passage above, Mordecai’s future didn’t look good.  If everything went as planned, Mordecai was scheduled to be hung the next day.  An enemy of Haman, second in command to the king, hatred and jealousy of this outspoken Jew resulted in his sentence to death.  Hours away from this fate, God’s providence kicked into action.  The king couldn’t sleep, his subject selected a book to read, Mordecai was mentioned and it was discovered nothing was done to honor him for exposing a plot to assassinate the king.

It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.  “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked.  “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered, Esther 6:2-3.

When the queen, Esther threw a banquet for Haman and the king the next day, Mordecai received the honor that Haman desperately sought.  This twist of fate altered the outcome of Mordecai’s life, changing places with Haman.  Seizing the opportunity, queen Esther revealed Haman’s hidden plot to kill the Jews living in the kingdom.  In twenty four hours, the tables were turned as good triumphed over evil, sending Haman to the gallows set up for Mordecai.  In view of this historic event, don’t forget that when the future looks bleak, God can and will intervene.

by Jay Mankus

 

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You Are the One

As a boy growing up on the playground during recess, kickball was the game of choice.  Since school wasn’t that exciting, I longed for this time.  The only awkward moment was picking teams, sitting on a bench until your name was called.  While some waited longer than others, it was always great to hear, “you are the one” on my team.

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.

God has a different way of choosing individuals.  While the average person looks at size, strength or stature, the Lord examines the heart.  Subsequently, many of God’s servants often get overlooked in this life, not appreciated like they should be.  When things don’t go your way, its hard to keep a good attitude.  Thus, some get stuck on the bench until the very end, never hearing “you are the one.”

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14

There are others who experience divine intervention also known as God’s providence.  In the case of Esther, she was born into a situation to save the Jews from extinction.  This wasn’t by accident, chance or dumb luck.  Rather, a close relative saw her situation for what is was, an opportunity for serve God for such a time is this. While this blog may find you still sitting on a bench, waiting for God to call your name, don’t give up hope.  The day will come when you hear those precious words, “you are the one.”

by Jay Mankus

 

When the Conductor Arrives

In the absence of leadership, chaos often ensues.  Subsequently, if you want to get from point A to point B, you need to wait for a guide who you can trust.  While some grow impatient choosing someone without proven experience, the faithful wait it out despite the uncertainty.  Time has a way of straightening out unanswered questions, revealing glimpses of God’s providence.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

Without God’s direction, anyone can wander far from the life the Lord designed for you.  For reasons unknown, trials come and go unannounced, wearing on souls who are put through a series of tests.  In some ways, these unpleasant experiences serve as a way to nudge individuals closer to God’s will.  Yet, in trying to comprehend the whys, putting the pieces together to life’s mysteries, some lose faith.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose, Romans 8:28.

One of the roles Jesus plays is a conductor, leading his lost sheep in the right direction.  Like a maestro, God has a way of taking average people and bringing them together to make amazing music.  Unfortunately, when things don’t go your way, its hard to see God’s hand at work.  Thus, its vital to keep in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, ready to jump on the train to heaven when the conductor arrives.

by Jay Mankus

 

Learning to Let Go of Those Things You Can’t Control

I spent a couple of hours in and out of waiting rooms on Friday, waiting to hear what the tests on my eyes revealed.  Like a prophet, I overheard a Christian woman provide some profound advice.  Chatting with a woman next to her, she replied, “I’ve learned you have to let go of those things you can’t control.”

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? – Psalm 56:3-4

Almost an hour later, I was prepared for the bad news that I received.  While various medical terms spoken were foreign to me, I was told eye surgery was imminent.  The doctors advice was the sooner was better, causing my mind to race about how this will change my life.  Yet, as the woman in the waiting room professed, you can’t worry about things beyond your control.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love, 1 John 4:18.

One of Jesus’ disciples shines some light on this topic.  Whenever faced with something beyond your control, fear is a common response.  However, the cure to overcoming this is the perfect love found in Jesus Christ.  As I cope with what awaits me in the next few weeks, I can’t say I am confident.  Nonetheless, my hope lies in Christ alone as I trust God’s providence to oversee that which I can’t control.

by Jay Mankus

 

Brought to Tears

 

From time to time, even the stoic have moments where they can’t hold back their tears.  Depending upon how you were raised as a child, you are either less or more likely to cry based upon the principles instilled within you by parents.  However, when confronted by the past, death or disappointment, any of these elements of pain can trigger the flood gates to open.

I tend to go through arid periods, numb to the emotions deep inside my soul.   Although, I do experience an annual rainy season, when the lyrics to a song, a touching scene or I am moved by a conservation, unleashing a steady flow of tear drops.  May be this is why the Holy Spirit inspired Solomon to say “a sad face is good for the heart” within Ecclesiastes, made famous by the Choir’s 1988 song from their Chase the Kangaroo album.

This is where we find Joseph, son of Israel in Genesis 45:1-2.  Moved by Judah’s plea,  suggesting that coming home without Benjamin, the youngest boy in the family, will likely result in the death of his father, Genesis 44:18-34.  Afraid that his childish act of toying with his brothers out of vengeance will cause his own father to die of a broken heart, Joseph finally relents.  Possibly holding a grudge, mistreated by them 20 years earlier, wailing aloud serves as a source of healing.  Once he composes himself, Joseph conveys God’s plan to his brothers in Genesis 45:3-8, brought to tears by God’s providence.

by Jay Mankus

Heavenly Dwelling

Come as you are to the Most High Place

Where an invisible shield will provide a refuge

Safety and security serve as a blanket of protection

With angels waiting in the wings, ready to act on a moment’s notice.

Like a force field, harm and predators bounce out without leaving a mark

The life guard on duty relies on love as a weapon of defense

Whenever a swimmer cries out for help, afraid of incoming breakers

The giver of life will come to your aid in a twinkling of an eye.

Delivering you from the waves of circumstances, situations and trials

As long as you remain in the presence of the Lord Most High

Long life, salvation and satisfaction will accompany you the rest of your days

Why wait any longer, since an open pew is awaiting for your arrival!

by Jay Mankus

A One Way Ticket to… Tarshish?

During the days of Jonah, there was a city similar to Las Vegas, where sin was flaunted for all to see.  Thus, when God gave him the assignment to preach to Nineveh, Jonah’s hatred of this place prevented him from following God’s calling.  Instead, he fled from the Lord, setting sail for Tarshish in the opposite direction, Jonah 1:3.

In many ways, my current path appears to be similar to the detour Jonah took from God.  After 10 successful years of teaching, I figured this stage of my life was over, a bitter memory of countless hours of service.  However, it appears the boat that I call occupation has sunk, leaving me stranded without a whale to bring me back to shore.

Second guessing my choices over the past 16 months may be futile, yet maybe this storm I have been experiencing has occurred to bring me back where I didn’t want to go.  While I have punched my one way ticket to Tarshish, God has the ability to bring me back in accordance with His will, wherever that may be.  As I continue to float off course, keeping my head above water, maybe there is an open door on the horizon to lift me out of these murky waters.  As for now, all I can do is pray the prayer of Jonah 2:1-9, expecting a happy ending accompanied by God’s providence.

by Jay Mankus

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