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Tag Archives: hope

Prediction, Premonition or Prophecy?

Everyone knows at least one Debbie downer, an individual who conspires and dwells on negative things that will likely occur in the future. These predictions are often influenced by gossip, hearsay and perceptions based upon previous events. When this speculation actually happens, who or what should receive credit for making an accurate prediction. Is this merely a guilt feeling, an unexplained sense in the form of a premonition or merely a self-fulfilled prophecy?

But as [the season was well advanced, for] much time had been lost and navigation was already dangerous, for the time for the Fast [the Day of Atonement, about the beginning of October] had already gone by, Paul warned and advised them, Saying, Sirs, I perceive [after careful observation] that this voyage will be attended with disaster and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but of our lives also, Acts 27:9-10.

While traveling to Rome, Paul and Luke sail into the middle of a northeaster, similar to a strong typhon. Based upon his numerous missionary journeys, traveling by boat in the Mediterranean Sea, Paul became interested in weather forecasting. Based upon the waves, wind and typically weather patterns, Paul perceives this storm brewing in the distance. In the passage above, two factors contribute to Paul’s prediction, the time for fasting and after careful observation. Paul’s experience sailing and faith steered this man of God to make an accurate prediction.

And when neither sun nor stars were visible for many days and no small tempest kept raging about us, all hope of our being saved was finally abandoned. Then as they had eaten nothing for a long time, Paul came forward into their midst and said, Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have put to sea from Crete and brought on this disaster and harm and misery and loss. But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship. For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship, Acts 27:20-23.

The further Luke details this real life drama, the clearer it becomes that Paul possessed a special connection with God. After Paul expresses an “I told you so” moment, a new revelation provides hope for those fearful of dying. This second predication isn’t a premonition or prophecy. Rather, Paul reveals the source of his news, an angel of God. In a normal setting, there would be skepticism. However, when your boat is about to sink and panic sets in, this angel is an answer to prayer. Whether you are talking about making a prediction, sharing a premonition or having a prophetic thought, the most important thing is giving God the glory.

by Jay Mankus

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Recognizing God as Your Ally

The term ally is often associated with foreign policy. When a country or state is at odds with an adversary, leaders will reach out to like minded nations to form a verbal or written allegiance. These politically formed allies become partners by cooperating in times of need, participating in joint military operations and supporting one another when unforeseen events arise. Faithful allies become colleagues, friends and helpers to make the world a better place to live.

But some Jews arrived there from Antioch and Iconium; and having persuaded the people and won them over, they stoned Paul and [afterward] dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead. But the disciples formed a circle about him, and he got up and went back into the town; and on the morrow he went on with Barnabas to Derbe, Acts 14:19-20.

While on trial for his faith, the apostle Paul refers God as his ally. When you take a look at the numerous times Paul’s life was in danger, the Lord always sent an angel, believer or concerned citizen to come the rescue. In the passage above, Paul was stoned, left for dead by his accusers. Instead of accepting that Paul would die, the disciples formed a circle around Paul to prevent any further attacks. Although Luke doesn’t mention prayer, I’m sure one, several or all of these godly men hoped and prayed for a speedy recovery, to restore Paul’s health quickly.

[But] to this day I have had the help which comes from God [as my ally], and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike, asserting nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses declared would come to pass, Acts 26:22.

Paul’s testimony in the passage above makes me wonder if I truly view God as my ally. While I see God as my friend and Savior, genuine allies cooperate with or help one another in a particular activity. This particular activity would be fulfilling the great commission, Acts 1:8, by using my God given gifts. Similar to American allies, I go through periods where I am missing due to in action. The flesh, a.k.a. the sinful nature has a way of persuading distracted souls to become self-centered, breaking your allegiance to God. Paul devotes two chapters of the Bible to this, Romans 7 and 8. May this blog inspire you to rekindle your relationship with God by becoming a better ally with the Creator of the universe.

by Jay Mankus

The Freedom from Religion Movement

When I was a senior in high school, I was naïve about the spiritual dangers that existed in college.  A few of my spiritual mentors who already spent a year away at college warned me about giving into temptation.  These concerns fell upon deaf ears, causing me to wander away from the Lord during my first semester at the University of Delaware.  If I only listened to one of Jesus’ disciples in the passage below, I could have avoided the bad habits and heartache that I experienced during this dark period of my life.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

One of the modern dangers that lurks in the distance is the Freedom from Religion Movement. The Freedom from Religion Foundation is an American non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin, with members from all 50 states.  This organization was founded by atheists and humanists who seek to censor and or prevent prayer from taking place in public schools.  The leaders of this movement decided to run a commercial during Tuesday night’s Democratic Presidential Debate.  The attached ad speaks for itself, an eerie preview of the future.

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, Ephesians 6:18.

According to the apostle Paul, the best way to combat the Freedom from Religion Movement is through prayer.  As atheists rely on and use activist judges to take away religious freedoms, Christians need to keep alert by praying in the Spirit at all times.  When hope dies, the power of prayer fades.  Yet, if a concert of prayer begins within churches, communities and homes, hope can be restored.  Throughout history, one movement replaces another, seeking to accomplish it’s goals.  However, when God’s people stand in the spiritual gaps that exists, the Holy Spirit will be unleashed to ensure that the Jesus Movement prevails.

by Jay Mankus

A Source of Hope or Poisoned by a Toxic Environment?

The other night I was able to interact with a couple of co-workers that I hadn’t seen for a while. Instead of giving a token “how are you doing” in passing without really listening, I caught these two individuals at a vulnerable moment. Each were coping with issues beyond their control. Thus, I was given the opportunity to be a source of hope or add negative fuel to these fires?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing, 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, dissatisfied customers typically tell 9 to 15 other people about their experience with some telling 20 or more. This frustration also applies to toxic environments as bitter hearts search for someone to vent their displeasure with. When two co-workers focus solely on the negative aspects of their job, even the optimistic can become poisoned by a toxic work environment.

But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, Hebrews 3:13.

The author of Hebrews addresses this issue in the passage above. This first century convert to Christianity understood the nature of sin. Temptation lurks daily like the illustration in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 with ears itching to participate in gossip and slander. This behavior results in hardened hearts, deceived by sin. Yet, freewill provides you with a choice to make each day. You can be a source of hope or fall prey to a toxic environment. Choose wisely.

by Jay Mankus

World Mental Health Day

This year’s day to recognize global mental health is Thursday October 10th. World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 as an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. More than 150 countries take part is this day to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ life worldwide. Leaders in Australia feel so strongly about this issue that an entire week is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace, Romans 8:5-6.

Unfortunately, most of the curriculum, education and programs will steer clear of biblical principles. Yet, this provides me an open door to examine what the Bible has to say about mental health. The apostle Paul claims the biggest obstacle to achieving a mind at peace is fleshly desires which crave instant gratification. This internal force must be brought under control and tamed by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word [the message, the basis] of faith which we preach— because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation, Romans 10:8-10.

According to C.S. Lewis, the Holy Spirit is only accessible to those who have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Mere Christianity details Cardinal and Theological Virtues. Cardinal virtues include prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude. These traits are available to everyone who strides to obtain mental health. Yet, access to the Theological virtues of charity, hope and faith is limited to active believers in Jesus. Therefore, if you want to truly celebrate mental health, embrace Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

To Impeach or Not to Impeach?

Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body, the House of Representatives in the United States, levels charges against a government official. A decision to impeach a government official is equivalent to an indictment in criminal law. This act does not actually remove an official from office. Rather, this statement of charges is voted on by the House. If enough votes are received, the Senate conducts a trial based upon articles of impeachment vetoed upon. The last president to be impeached by Congress was Bill Clinton in 1998.

So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciplesm John 8:31.

While this decision more than 20 years ago seemed logical at the time for Republican leaders, impeaching Clinton back fired resulting in Democratic wins at the ballet box during the 1998 elections. The impeachment frenzy was revitalized this past week, bombarding viewers on cable news and setting social media on fire. After reports were leaked of a conversion between President Trump and the new Ukrainian president, Democratic leaders have initiated an impeachment inquiry. Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress claim this decision is merely an attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.

And you will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set you free [from the penalty of sin],” John 8:32.

As an observer of this political drama, our justice system is on the verge of collapse. The concept of innocent until proven guilty apparently does not apply to President Trump, a former Democrat who is now the leader of the Republican party. High ranking progressive leaders continue to presume that our 45th president is guilty without any clear evidence of a crime committed. Whether it’s Russian interference, endless classified leaks or this new Ukrainian phone call, certain Democratic leaders are itching to impeach President Trump. Yet, without any concrete evidence, history could repeat itself in 2020. As concerned citizens watch this chaos, all you and I can do is pray for clarity so that the truth will set Congress free.

by Jay Mankus

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the song Don’t Go Breaking My Heart under the pseudonyms “Ann Orson” and “Carte Blanche” respectively. The goal of this project was intended to serve as an affectionate pastiche of the Motown style. This single debuted in 1976 as a duet by Elton John and Kiki Dee. However, this expression is not new, containing origins that date back to the first century.

As we were staying there for some time, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 And coming to [see] us, he took Paul’s [wide] band (belt, sash) and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this same way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this band, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles (pagans).’” 12 Now when we had heard this, both we and the local residents began pleading with Paul trying to persuade him not to go up to Jerusalem, Acts 21:10-12.

According to Luke, the apostle Paul used the phrase “weeping and breaking his heart” after receiving a prophecy from Agabus. This prophet from Judea uses an exercise similar to active learning techniques to illustrate a message that Agabus received from God. The thought of martyrdom inspired family and friends to persuade Paul from welcoming this fate. Yet, Paul appears to reach a point in his life like the character in the Green Mile, John Coffey. Tired and worn down by his missionary journeys, Paul was willing to embrace the Lord’s will for his final years on earth.

Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart [like this]? For I am ready not only to be bound and imprisoned, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 And since he would not be dissuaded, we stopped pleading and fell silent, saying, “The Lord’s will be done!” – Acts 21:13-14

No one likes to do unpleasant projects. Nor do people enjoy moving, saying goodbye to the individuals who have become part of their family, Nonetheless, sometimes God’s will calls you to go into uncomfortable places. In the process, hearts will be broken, especially if anyone dies a martyr’s death. There are many things that don’t make sense on earth. Yet, if obedience results in sending souls to heaven sooner rather than later, the people in this first century house came to a silent agreement. The Lord’s will be done even if hearts break now before being reunited in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

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