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When Knee Jerk Decisions Prolong the Length of Your Storm

Movies are filled with bad decisions which form the plot of a screenplay. Anger, curiosity, knee jerk reactions or pride often make a difficult situation even worse. In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Skandar Kaynes plays Edmund Pevensie, the third youngest child who suffers from an inferiority complex. When Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are deported from London to the house of an eccentric professor during World War 2, Lucy discovers the magical land of Narnia. However, when Peter follows his younger sister into the Wardrobe (the portal to Narnia) the following day, an encounter with the White Witch places his entire family in danger.

As we were being dangerously tossed about by the violence of the storm, the next day they began to throw the freight overboard; 19 And the third day they threw out with their own hands the ship’s equipment (the tackle and the furniture). 20 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, Acts 27:18-20.

Sailing on an Alexandrian ship bound for Italy, a northeaster disrupts Paul’s trip to Rome. The winds did not let up for several days, slowing the progress of this journey. Warning the crew about a vision he received from God, Acts 27:10, the centurion did not listen, convincing by the captain and owner of this vessel to press on. According to the passage above, conditions continued to worsen as the sun, moon and stars were not visible as the storm blocked out any signs of light. Unfortunately, many Christians go unheard as experts follow science rather than follow the voice of God.

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. 22 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. 23 For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship, 24 And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you. 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith (complete confidence) in God that it will be exactly as it was told me; Acts 27:21-25.

Pastor’s during the Coronavirus face a similar situation today. As local and state officials are placing bans or limits on the number of individuals who can attend church, spiritual leaders are in a difficult spot. Do elders make knee jerk reactions by disregarding state mandates or carefully follow social distancing standards? Human nature tends to lead people to push the limits. Meanwhile, common sense leads human beings to be responsible by putting the needs of others in place of yourself. Whatever circumstance or trial that you face in 2021, make sure that knee jerk reactions don’t prolong the length of your current storm.

by Jay Mankus

God’s Open Door Policy

The term “Open Door Policy” was adopted in 1899 by the United States in circular notes dispatched by the Secretary State John Hay.  These letters were sent to Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Russia addressing the need for the protection of equal privileges among countries trading with China.  Today, open door policy’s refer to management who is willing to discuss, listen and talk with employees about their concerns, frustrations and problems.

While stereotypes about God include fire, brimstone and striking people down for sinning, Psalm 24 reveals a far different picture.  Psalm 24:7 suggests that people, not God are closing their doors.  If Israel would just open their gates to Jerusalem and keep their doors ajar, the King of Glory wishes to enter.  Two verses later, David repeats himself with the identical words, “Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in,” Psalm 24:9.

Jesus recounts a similar open door policy in Revelation 3:20.  According to John, who quotes Jesus, a door is separating people from seeing Jesus face to face.  Unlike a typical door, this door contains only one handle which is on our side.  Jesus is on the other side, patiently knocking, waiting for you and me to let Him in.  However, Jesus don’t does not force himself until our lives.  Freewill is the difference between an open or shut door.  Therefore, if you want to experience God’s open door policy today, Jesus is waiting for you to let him in so that your relationship may begin, Romans 10:9-10.

by Jay Mankus

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