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Tag Archives: Heavenly Father

Finding A Shack to Meet with God

There isn’t anything that God asks individuals to do that his son Jesus didn’t already model on earth.  Apparently, spending time alone with God was so important that Jesus got up earning in the morning to meet with his heavenly father.  While this location is not mentioned by name it involves a secluded place, probably in the mountains outside of town.  If you want to emulate Christ in all ways the first step should be finding a shack, an isolated location to meet with God.

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there, Mark 1:35.

In the 2017 film based upon the 2007 book written by William P. Young, the Shack contains a scene where the main character receives a invitation to meet God in a shack.  The only problem is that this is the place where Mack’s daughter was murdered.  Confiding in a friend, Mack is not sure if this mysterious card in the mail is a trap sent by the his daughter’s killer, a sick prank or God?  Afraid and curious, Mack ends up spending a weekend with God that transforms his life.

Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him, 37 and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!”Mark 1:36-37

The passage above details the hindrance that awaits anyone hoping to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  If you don’t wake up early enough or find a setting without distractions, your time with God will be interrupted.  Pastor Tommy Nelson of Denton Bible Church has a saying for any believer who rushes through their morning devotion.  Nelson refers to this as a spiritual spit bath, void of the living water.  In view of this analogy, if you want to celebrate and experience the abundant life of John 10:10, make your preparations today to find your shack to meet with God.

by Jay Mankus

 

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A Hostage of Peace

Words like captive, pawn and victim are often associated with a hostage.  Despite this negative connotation, hostages can find a state of mind where peace is achieved.  Such is the case for a pastor arrested in communist China, sentenced to a prison camp for proselytizing where a cess pool became his home.  Days led to weeks, weeks to months and months to years, forced to dwell in a place which most gagged on the stench.  Yet, in this living hell, this man of God imagined the words of the Bible he read throughout his years of ministry.  Overtime, a transformation conceived a hostage of peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you, Isaiah 26:3.

In August of 2012, Tenth Avenue North released The Struggle, an album that featured several songs with powerful lyrics.  One of my favorites is Hostage of Peace, commences with the idea earthly battles begin in the heart.

Feel the silence
There’s a war beneath our skin
Let it begin
It’s hard to fight
It’s hard to lead resistance
It’s our hearts we’re up against

Although the world around human beings may fall apart, Ten Avenue North encourages individuals to cling to the promises in the Bible.  When danger approaches, the author of this song suggests to cry out to in prayer to find the loving arms of our heavenly Father.  This is where an individual can become a hostage of peace.

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord, Hebrews 12:14.

Decades following this pastor’s travails, would modern Christians be able to survive if stripped away from their spiritual foundation?  With temptations lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce on unprepared souls, could a strong faith endure without access to the Bible?  God willing, American believers won’t have to experience the trials of nations in spiritual bondage.  However, if the culture continues to embrace and lean toward leftist beliefs, church leaders will need to prepare their congregations to obtain a hostage of peace.

by Jay Mankus

An Altar of Tears

The Psalmist was one of the first to address God’s view on the broken hearted.  According to Psalm 34:18, God promises to draw near the hurting and save those devastated by life’s trials.  Jesus furthers God’s position within Matthew 11:28-30.  A woman in Mark 14:3-5, takes Jesus’ words literally, bowing down before him, anointing his head.  John’s version includes other details, as this same woman pours the remaining perfume on his feet, using her wash to thoroughly wash Jesus’ feet, John 12:3.  Like a child who cries before being punished by their parents, desperate moments often resemble an altar of tears.

However, the prophet Malachi gives a different perspective of this picture.  From God’s side of the altar, He does see the flood of tears, as people cry out for help, Malachi 2:13.  On the other hand, God also sees disobedience, impure motives and half-hearted offerings.  If the Lord is jealous, Exodus 20:5, anyone or anything which comes between you and God, creates a role reversal.  Our Heavenly Father is the one who longs to spend time with you, knocking on the door or your heart, waiting to have fellowship with you, Revelation 3:20.  Like a shepherd, searching for a lost sheep, God’s heart won’t be satisfied until you are found, Luke 15:6-7.

One of the greatest spectacles on earth occurs when a sinner repents, Luke 15:10.  As a person attempts to make it in life on their own, breaking points vary.  The independent  tend to last the longest, content longer than most.  The insecure often become co-dependent, on someone or something.  However, when you reach that moment in time, where the void in the heart brings you to an altar of tears, Jesus is waiting with out-stretched arms, Matthew 11:28-30.   Freedom is available for you right now, John 8:34-36, accessible by God’s grace, through a prayer and an alter of tears.

by Jay Mankus

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