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Tag Archives: obeying God

Can’t Stop Thinking About It

Mind-wandering is referred to today as task-unrelated thought. Depending upon the situation, you might experience thoughts not remaining on a single topic for a long period of time. This state of mind is allowed to continue when people are not engaged in an attention-demanding task.
Once individuals are less bogged down by the pressure of day to day life, minds can begin to narrow in on what’s important.

But after ordering them to step out of the Council [chamber], they began to confer among themselves, 16 saying, “What are we to do with these men? For the fact that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them is public knowledge and clearly evident to all the residents of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to keep it from spreading further among the people and the nation, let us [sternly] warn them not to speak again to anyone in this name.” 18 So they sent for them, and commanded them not to speak [as His representatives] or teach at all in the name of Jesus [using Him as their authority]., Acts 4:15-18.

Following the day of Pentecost, miracles once performed by Jesus began to occur by his followers. After a man lame from birth was deemed healed after showing himself to a priest, John and Peter was brought in for questioning. A group of ruling men known as the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Court, were concerned that Jews were getting caught up in a new Jesus Movement. Evidently, people couldn’t stop thinking about miracles performed under the authority of Jesus Christ.

But Peter and John replied to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you and obey you rather than God, you must judge [for yourselves]; 20 for we, on our part, cannot stop telling [people] about what we have seen and heard,” Acts 4:19-20.

Thus, the Sanhedrin tried to stop this spiritual movement from spreading any further. This suggestion presented John and Peter with a moral dilemma. Should we give into this peer pressure to become politically correct or should we obey God? These former disciples of Jesus chose the latter, risking imprisonment to stand up for their beliefs and convictions. If there is one thing you shouldn’t stop thinking about, it’s Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

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What You Say Isn’t Always What God Wants Others to Hear

As someone who works at Amazon, I come across thousands of products weekly.  Some of these units I have to examine, investigate or test.  Due to the bizarre nature of some or unusual name of others, I am tempted by sarcasm.  Without any type of a filter, I may blurt out something comical, funny or witty.  Despite how humorous my comments may be from time to time, what I say isn’t always what God wants others to hear.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, Romans 12:2.

I can’t speak for other people, but I tend to go through various stages of conviction.  When I am in tune with God, my spiritual antennas are heightened.  This usually results in obeying God.  The rest of the year I experience weeks when I am numb, aimlessly wondering through life like Israel in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.  This stage produces periods of coarse joking and sarcasm, as I lose my direction and vision for life.  If I allow apathy to reign, this is where I lose control of my vocabulary, letting loose words slip.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5.

As I have fallen into bad habits, the Lord reminded me of this verse above.  Frustrated by my current state, I tried to apply taking my thoughts captive.  What I learned is that what was funny to me last week, isn’t funny to God.  Thus, as I performed my daily responsibilities, keeping my mouth shut was tough, much harder than I thought.  Although I blurted out a few sarcastic responses, taking every thought captive requires extreme discipline.  While I don’t have the ability to be perfect, in my own weakness to do and say the right thing, Jesus can be strong.  Therefore, I press on forgetting my past to focus on the future so that God’s sanctifying grace will make me whole.  In the meantime, make sure the words you utter reflect the compassion, grace and love of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Saving Yourself from Shame

As of now, everyone is perfect in 2015 as God has wiped everyone’s slate clean, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  However, its only a matter of time before someone says, “I can’t believe I just said that!”  It only takes a minuscule act, slight compromise or momentary lapse in judgment to ensnare a soul forever.  As this new year begins, what’s saving you from shame?

Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. – Psalm 119:6

Eve’s world began with perfection, no afflictions, illness or pain to complain about.  With only one rule to follow, Genesis 2:15-17, everything was available to the first family except for the Tree of Knowledge.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Lucifer to plant seeds of disobedience on the earth, Genesis 3:1.  Instead of walking away from temptation, Eve thought she could handle it own her own, excluding the Lord and her husband from this conversation, Genesis 3:2-6.  Once you engage temptation, shame often follows, Genesis 3:7.

The Psalmist provides helpful hints to keep your reputation clean in 2015.

1) Be steadfast in obeying God’s decrees, Psalm 119:5.

2) Avoid careless mistakes by memorizing God’s commands in the Bible, Psalm 119:6.

3) Devote your heart to righteousness, Matthew 5:6.

4) Cling to purity by walking in the ways of the Lord, Psalm 119:9.

5) Hide God’s Word in your heart to remain on the narrow path, Psalm 119:10.

Although Calvinists might say you’re destined to fail, solely reliant on God’s grace, the apostle Paul suggests that you have some say in your day to day decisions, Philippians 2:12.  Essentially, Paul is warning individuals about getting too comfortable like Eve, 1 Corinthians 10:11-12.  As Solomon once said, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6.  By following this advice, God willing, you will be saved from shame in 2015 and beyond.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Promised Angel

Dramas like Touched by An Angel and Joan of Arcadia brought to light the concept of guardian angels.  From 1993 to 2004, Hollywood used Monica, Tess and Andrew to portray  what it would be like to encounter one of God’s servants.  As one show faded, another took its place in prime time, inspired by the song What if God was One of Us? Airing from 2003-2005, Joan of Arcadia gave teenagers a glimpse of how obeying God’s advice could impact the lives of an entire community.

The Bible introduces readers to a promised angel in Exodus 23:20-33.  According to Moses, God’s plan included a guardian angel for the nation of Israel.  The purpose of this heavenly visitor was to guide God’s people toward the promised land.  However, like anything else in life, freewill is in play, allowing individuals to choose to listen or disregard this angel’s directions.  It’s no wonder that Israel took 40 years to make it to a land flowing with milk and honey.  Taking God’s messenger seriously may have cut their time in half or possibly reduced their journey to 1 month, if only they had believed and obeyed.

While angelic stories continue today, Jesus promised to send a mighty counselor to earth after his ascension into heaven, John 16:5-15, known as the Holy Ghost.  Following Pentecost in Acts 2, an angel freed Peter from prison like a scene from a modern movie in Acts 12:5-14.  Unfortunately, faith is wavering today as unbelief has caused many to doubt God has the power to repeat history by ushering angels onto the scene and into our lives.  May the Spirit of Christmas transform your soul, helping you realize the wonderful life you have thereby embracing the angel by your side.

by Jay Mankus

All or Nothing

From my own life experiences, people usually fit into 1 of 3 categories: those that don’t care, people who are somewhat committed and individuals who give everything they have.  If  you change  the subject, topic or give incentives, degrees of seriousness will likely increase.  However, in the end, God has provided human beings with freewill, allowing each to set their own level of commitment.

Exodus 19:5-6 contains a promise for anyone willing to give the Lord 100% of their attention.  Anything less than being all in and the carrot at the end of the stick will be null and void.  The prize for fully obeying God and keeping the covenant of Circumcision and Passover is out of this world.  According to Exodus 19:5, the Lord will make Israel his treasured possession on earth.  Yet, words mean nothing unless action is inspired by faith, James 2:14-26.

A similar promise is made to those believers exiled from Rome during Nero’s persecution of Christians near the end of the 60’s AD.  One of the disciples from Jesus’ inner circle expresses the following within 1 Peter 2:4-10.  Although Peter mentions predestination, you can’t use this as a cop out or disclaimer.  Rather, just like the days of Israel wandering in the wilderness, the choice is yours: all or nothing, Deuteronomy 30:15.

by Jay Mankus

Idle Potion #666

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were the architects of the 1959 hit Love Potion #9.  Originally performed by The Clovers, this song rose to as high as 23 on the U.S. charts before falling back into the capsule of history.  Love potion number 9 refers to a spell which falls upon on man who ends up kissing everyone he sees like the modern country song Beer Goggles written by Neal McCoy.

Similar trances exist today, causing anyone who drinks of the world’s ways to gradually fall prey to a spirit of idleness.  Two months ago I was hungry for the Word of God, spending 1-2 hours daily reading the Bible and praying.  These daily reflections kept me from buying into the schemes of the devil, Ephesians 6:11.  However, as March faded away, so did my desire to continue super sizing my faith.  Thus, like tumbleweeds in steady Texas winds, I have been performing back flips, rolling ever closer to idle potion #666.

The expression out of sight, out of mind rings true, as the devil uses busyness as a portal into idleness.  When you add to this equation distractions and weariness, it only takes a whiff to induce innocent souls toward the devil’s lair.  God sends a spiritual wind to snap anyone out of idleness in the form of 1 Thessalonians 5:4-10.  Therefore, before you get too comfortable, examine your heart to see who or what you are actually following.  Set your mind on obeying 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 or else you might be the next victim of idle potion #666.

by Jay Mankus

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