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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

Rains from Heaven

While farmers pray for rain each summer to nurture freshly planted crops, vacationers hope for clear sunny skies until nightfall.  Meanwhile, those who reside in the path of previous hurricanes or tornado alley, plead with God to save their home, lives and town.  From God’s perspective, every day prayers lifted up to heaven often contradict one another.  Subsequently, rain sent from heaven will bless some while serving as a curse to others.

Yet He did not leave Himself without some witness [as evidence of Himself], in that He kept constantly doing good things and showing you kindness, and giving you rains from heaven and productive seasons, filling your hearts with food and happiness,” Acts 14:17.

After healing a man crippled from birth, eyewitnesses of this miracle exalted Paul and Barnabas to god-like status.  Instead of receiving this praise, Paul reveals the source of his power, pointing to heaven.  Evidence of God’s presence can be seen daily if you are watching closely.  Unfortunately, many have become oblivious, too focused on their own lives to thank the Lord for rains sent from heaven.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]. 18 It was of His own will that He gave us birth [as His children] by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits of His creatures [a prime example of what He created to be set apart to Himself—sanctified, made holy for His divine purposes], James 1:17-18.

An earthly brother came to realize this fact following Jesus’ resurrection.  Perhaps, the passage above is a culmination of a private conversation prior to Jesus ascending into heaven.  If only negative people who try to bring you down would grasp the concept that every perfect gift comes from above.  Embracing this mindset would transform families, neighborhoods and workplaces.  Yet, for now, the best way to keep this message alive is by pointing to rain sent from heaven.

by Jay Mankus

After the Storm

Depending upon where you live, everyone will face some sort of storm in life.  The northern states must cope with blizzards.  The heartland must be on guard against tornados.  The coasts need to keep watch for hurricanes, nor’easters and tsunamis.  Those who live somewhere in between might face a combination of these natural disasters.  However, no one, not even the weather forecasters foresaw how destructive Hurricane Harvey and it’s tropical moisture could impact southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping, Matthew 8:24.

After this storm goes away, Texas and part of Louisiana might experience a 9/11 like effect.  Only God knows what lies underneath the millions of gallons of water flooding entire cities.  To rebound from this epic tragedy, communities, neighbors and residents are going to have to come together despite their political differences for a common goal, rebuild.  While news crews are waiting anxiously to air this carnage, nothing can prepare these individuals for the resolve needed to overcome these extreme conditions.  Like the motto following the Boston marathon bombing, Boston Strong, Texas and Louisiana need to unite to rise again after this storm.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm, Matthew 8:25-26.

During the first century, Jesus had just turned down individuals who wanted to become disciples.  Perhaps, even some of the twelve disciples questioned their own abilities to meet Jesus’ expectations on a trip across the Sea of Galilee.  Out of no where, a violent storm emerged without warning.  Tired from healing countless needy people earlier in the day, Jesus took a nap.  Fearful for their lives, the disciples woke up Jesus, hoping He would save them.  Based upon Jesus’ response, his disciples had a long way to go, far from the faith expected by now.  For those affected by Hurricane Harvey and it’s tropical storm, may you possess great faith while you cope with the unknowns in the future.

by Jay Mankus

Embracing the Headwinds in Life

Without wind a sailboat is dead in the water.  On the other hand, when gale or hurricane force winds arrive, the situation turns to a matter of life and death.  Thus, one man’s curse is another’s blessing.  Either way, its important to embrace the headwinds in life.

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job 1:21.

As a golfer, I once hit a drive in high school 340 yards uphill with a 75 miles per hours gust at my back.  On the same day, I struggled to hit mid-irons 100 yards into the same wind.  For an airplane to take off, it must face headwinds.  If attempting to get off the ground with the wind at their back, the downward force of this wind prevents lift, doing just the opposite.  Therefore, headwinds create ideal conditions for flight.

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit,” John 3:8.

Although wind is invisible, you can hear it coming.  While tornadoes create debris clouds, the Holy Spirit restores human beings from the inside out.  Transformation usually takes time, especially for anyone overcoming previous storms which has ravaged souls.  Beyond broken hearts, pain and scars, a supernatural force uses headwinds to bring individuals back to where they need to be.  In view of this fact, remember to thank the Lord like Job for the good and bad so that God will use headwinds to lift you up.

by Jay Mankus

When You Will See How Great is God

Life is like riding a new roller coaster for the first time, filled with ups and downs, twists and turns with unexpected corkscrews around blind corners.  Subsequently, individuals change, evolve or are transformed by the ebb and flow of trials.  Nonetheless, unless a caterpillar enters the chrysalis, it will never be able to fly.

When hard times arrive. (and they will find you) there is a tendency to cry out to God, complain and wrestle with reality, Psalm 77:1-4.  Whether its coping with death, illness or unemployment, there is no easy way out.  However, on the day of when storms arise, Asaph provides a blueprint in Psalm 77:5-13 to help struggling souls see how great God is.

The moment you begin to remember recent miracles, times when God carried you or meditate on the works of the Lord, perspectives change.  Yet, this is easier said than done.  In the midst of pain, find rest in God’s chrysalis until your transformation is complete.  After the hurricanes of life, keep your head up so that you will begin to see how great is our God.

by Jay Mankus

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