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Tag Archives: Questioning God

When God Has a Change in Plans

Back in 2016, I had emergency eye surgery in my right eye to prevent glaucoma from escalating.  After this operation, my surgeon informed me of a cataract that would need to be addressed in the future.  The initial goal was to wait a year then have cataract surgery.  However, this got pushed back until yesterday or least that’s what I thought.  When my blood pressure went from 130 over 80 Tuesday morning to 177 over 130 Thursday morning, God had a change of plans.  This procedure that involved six months of planning was abruptly cancelled.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps, Proverbs 16:9.

The older I get, the more analytical I become, pondering the reason for this delay.  Could I have died during this operation?  Did God prevent an accident from occurring?  Can God heal my eye supernaturally foregoing the need for this procedure?  Or did God want me to become painfully aware of a more pressing health need in my life?  As I ask these questions to God, I am still awaiting a clear response.  Nonetheless, King Solomon prepared the nation of Israel by warning people of God’s ability to alter, change or redirect your path.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand, Proverbs 19:21.

Currently, I find myself perplexed, essentially placed on bed rest until my blood pressure returns to a more normal level.  A few weeks before my senior year of college began, I broke my foot playing sand volleyball.  Instead of enjoying the final weeks of summer, I laid in bed, elevating my foot to reduce the swelling.  Five years ago a sledding accident resulted in 2 broken ribs and a collapsed lung, forced to take a medical leave of absence from work for five weeks.  When God quickly changes your plans, it’s not fun.  Yet, as I lie around in bed for a few days, I have time to reflect.  As I do, this is God’s way of reintroducing me to his plans, not mine.  Thus, I sit here quietly, listening intently and writing down for others in a blog what I am learning as I go through this tryin time in life.

by Jay Mankus

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God is Watching Over You

If anyone had a reason to doubt and question God, it was Job, a character in one of the oldest books of the Bible.  After his children died in a storm similar to a tornado, Job contracted boils all over his body.  Old Testament rationale associated the bad things that happened to individuals as a sign of punishment from God.  Thus, as bystanders stood by watching the trials that besieged Job, even three of Job’s best friends began to doubt his innocence.

“Behold, God is exalted in His power; Who is a ruler or a teacher like Him?” – Job 36:22

Feeling abandoned, one thought came to Job’s mind, God is watching over you.  While Job’s wife wanted him to curse God and die, his years of spending time with God enabled common sense to prevail.  Just as Jacob physically wrestled with God, Job struggled to comprehend what was happening to him.  This spiritual tussle inspired Job to record these events within an Old Testament book.  The worse things get in life, God has a way of humbling people to the point desperately trusting the Lord with your heart, soul and mind.

He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel.  Will neither slumber [briefly] nor sleep [soundly].  The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand, Psalm 121:3-5.

The Psalmist describes how God specifically watches over human beings.  Shepherds gave thanks for not twisting their ankle despite walking along rocky terrain.  Meanwhile, others sang about God’s never ending protection, watching over us like the old Bette Midler song From a Distance.  Finally, God is like a keeper, a shepherd guiding sheep around danger, a shade of protection in times of trouble.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself in the midst of adversity, remember the invisible guardian in the heavens above who is watching over you and me.

by Jay Mankus

Why Some Don’t Get Over the Hump?

There have been times in my life that I wanted to know, “why me Lord?”  Whenever you experience disappointment, failure or rejection, its not selfish to want understand why you have to endure yet another trial.  The Bible is full of servants questioning God for the hand each has been dealt.  Yet, I recently came across a passage which might explain why I haven’t gotten over the proverbial hump.

Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism, Colossians 3:25.

According to the apostle Paul, individuals are repaid for each wrong doing committed.  While the world is full of favoritism with many getting free passes on past transgressions, the Bible has a different standard to live by.  Subsequently, heartaches I have faced could be directly or indirectly related to prior poor choices made by me.  Whatever the reason for the rough stretches I have undergone, maybe I need to ask God for forgiveness before I point the blame toward heaven.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows, Galatians 6:7.

Perhaps, this is what the apostle Paul is referencing above.  A growing number of people pass the buck today, blaming others or situations instead of taking personal responsibility for their own actions.  Despite this attempt, God can’t be mocked.  Thus, until Christians recognize the sowing principle, they won’t be able to get over the hump.  When you come to this realization, practice the words of James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

The Joseph Parallel

The logical individual thinks life should be a series of straight lines from point A to point B and so on.  While everyone may experience progress and natural progressions at times, life is full of detours, road blocks and phases of construction.  Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a period of transition, remember the Joseph parallel.

And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it, Genesis 37:23-24.

Joseph son of Jacob, had high expectations, receiving dreams and visions of the life God intended.  However, envy, jealousy and pride led Joseph down a path of disappointment.  Despite a series of heartbreaks, Joseph remained optimistic, leading to favor from God and man.  Apparently, Joseph didn’t care how long it took to fulfill God’s will.  Rather, Joseph kept plugging away at life until God opened doors that he was ready to walk through.

And Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison.  But Jehovah was with Joseph, and showed kindness unto him, and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison, Genesis 39:20-21.

As I look at my own life, its not that different from Joseph.  However, when I experience trials I spent too much questioning God instead of making the best of each situation.  Subsequently, I have wasted countless days, weeks and years complaining instead of currying God’s favor.  In view of Joseph’s parallel, I need to be transformed, embracing hardships like James 1:2-4.  Although the Lord is waiting to bless his children, too many are having pity parties instead of taking God’s hand in faith.  May the Joseph parallel broaden your perspective and inspire you to keep serving the Lord until you reach your final destination.

by Jay Mankus

What Disturbs the Devil?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1

1) Obedience

Whenever someone refuses to break a rule, fails to compromise or take a short cut, the Devil becomes unsettled.  Therefore, expect a heavy dose of temptation in minds to challenge authority, doubt absolute truth and draw a new line for modern times.  Hollywood is a pawn that continues to remake documentaries and movies about American history, Bible stories and godly leaders in the past, hoping to rewrite a legacy void of character, integrity and truth.

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!   I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.   I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.   So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. – Luke 15:17-20

2) Repentance

Any act, attempt or consideration to reconcile unhinges the Devil.  Whenever you confess your sins, you attract God the Father’s attention, thereby creating panic within the realm of fallen angels.  To squash any thoughts of this, don’t be surprised by spirits of bitterness, grudges and or pride getting in the way of restoring broken relationships.  Those on the verge of mending friendships will have unusual things occur, trying to distract and prevent you from publicly expressing your sorrow, James 5:16.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil.   After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. – Matthew 4:1-2.

3) Fasting

Finally, the spiritual practice of forgoing food to draw near to the Lord will certainly be like stirring up a hornet’s nest.  Fearful of the powerful results portrayed throughout the Bible, Satan will pull every dirty trick out of his play book to prevent you from entering this state of worship.  Mental, physical and spiritual attacks always follow this practice so be on guard if the Holy Spirit encourages you to participate in a fast, Ephesians 6:11-12.  Arm yourself with the attitude of Christ so that you will be reach new heights in your relationship with God.

by Jay Mankus

 

How Long Must We Wait O Lord?

Waiting for anything isn’t natural.  The idea you have to remain inactive, stationary and pause until expectations are fulfilled can be agonizing.  The longer one waits, the greater doubts grow, wondering if prayers will be answered.

How long must your servant wait?  When will you punish my persecutors? – Psalm 119:84

Several Psalmists describe their anguish waiting to experience God’s promises.  As the wicked prosper without any penalties, cries for justice may go unnoticed for years.  Thus, screams of frustrations point toward heaven hoping for action to occur soon.

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God.  Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 4:1

In this silence, impatience often boils over.  This is when most turn their back on God.   For those clinging on to hope, only time will dictate whether or not faith will be reignited.  How long must we wait O Lord?  Keep praying til your requests become reality, following in the footsteps of the persistent widow, Luke 18:1-8.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

A New Appreciation for Justice

If you have ever been taken advantage of, wronged or violated, a part of you cries out for justice.  As for me I recall one of my final days in college.  While driving to see a friend play in a tennis match, a car went through a red light, side swiped my front end and took off my license plate.  Immediately, the driver apologized and told me it was his fault as a crowd of students gathered around the intersection.  Trusting this individual, I told the witnesses to go home.  Unfortunately, when the cops arrived, this man’s demeanor changed and so did his story.

Although there wasn’t significant damage to my car, the evidence suggested to the police that the man in the other car was to blame.  However, since I sent the eyewitnesses home before talking to the police, it was my word against his.  Could a college student be more honest than an adult with a flawless driving record?  This stalemate led to a trip to traffic court to see whether or not justice would be served.  Despite spewing out the biggest pile of manure during his testimony, aggravating the 2 officers I sat next to, the judge acquitted this postal worker of any wrong doing.

The frustration I felt was similar to some of the Psalms of David, questioning God when the wicked prospered.  Calming my emotions was difficult, wondering why this event had to occur to me.  Until you have something like this happen to you, justice is just another word.  Despite this setback, passages such as Psalm 9:1-7 provide a glimmer of hope, a day when the wrong will be made right.  A few years ago, I was the eyewitness who hung around so when the driver at fault tried to lie, I was there to inform the cops of what really happened.  Therefore, the next time you endure, feel or see injustice, ask the Lord to fill you with a new appreciation for justice.

by Jay Mankus

 

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