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Tag Archives: talking to God

Crossing the Threshold into Prayer

Some individuals have a tendency to think out loud.  Meanwhile, when alone others are in the habit of talking to themselves.  Unfortunately, a stereotype has conceived labeling any who talks to God or hears his voice to be crazy.  Thus, to enter a state of prayer requires a certain mindset, crossing over the threshold from the physical into the supernatural.

While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time, Jeremiah 33:1.

The power of prayer is like a restaurant which gradually grows as good news spreads through word of mouth.  If prayer doesn’t live up to your expectations, you won’t return, disappointed by your overall experience.  On the flip side, when you cross the threshold into prayer, a desire is conceived to return as soon as you have a chance.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know, Jeremiah 33:3.

In the days of the divided kingdom, Judah began to follow in the footsteps of Israel, gradually turning away from God.  Saddened by this choice, the prophet Jeremiah receives a message from the Lord.  Essentially, God promises those who cry out to the Lord in prayer, crossing over into the supernatural, will receive answers to the mysteries of this life.  Therefore, don’t let time or what others think hold you back from entering prayer.  While answers may not come immediately, those who cross this threshold will receive blessings, encouragement and guidance throughout life on earth.

by Jay Mankus

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Access Denied

Whether you are at home, school or work, if you’re careless when you enter your password into a computer, access will be denied.  Perhaps, you accidentally hit the caps button.  Or maybe your finger touched two keys at the same time.  Regardless of your mistake, black dots prevent you from seeing where you went wrong.  Instead, you are rejected, having to repeat the same process without a flaw to gain the access you desire.

When it comes to talking to God, many share a similar frustration, desperately seeking answers to their prayers.  Nonetheless, countless individuals are given the silent treatment, left in the dark by a God unwilling to tell you why at least for the moment.  Whether your situation is sin related or not, Isaiah 1:15, being shut out of the conversation has caused some to abandon God.

Paul likely endured periods of doubt during his years of ministry as an apostle.  However, while in Rome, the Holy Spirit brought Paul a clear message in Romans 5:1-4.  If access is denied, faith carries you until God opens the next door for you to walk through.  When you do sin, grace is provided to allow you to enter God’s presence.  Therefore, if you are struggling to connect with God, remember the words of Hebrews 11:1-6 until your access is reinstated.

by Jay Mankus

 

Where God’s Calling is Clearest

Skeptics will tend to agree with the words of 1 Samuel 3:1, “in those days the word of the Lord was rare.”  If these conditions exist today, how can someone discern or know if it is actually God’s voice calling out?  History provides 5 examples where God’s calling  is clearest.

1. In the Temple of the Lord, 1 Samuel 3:1-18.

Although just a boy, Samuel was raised in the temple.  Since his mentor was a priest, Samuel learned how to approach God, yet had never heard his voice.  On one ordinary night, Eli the priest introduced Samuel to the voice of the Lord.

2. Reading the Word of the Lord, 2 Kings 22:11-13.

Often, God is the first thing people cut from a busy schedule, allowing their Bible to collect dust on a shelf.  Time away from this book slowly reveals a shift in one’s actions, behavior and words.  After hidden for several years, Josiah finds a copy of the Old Testament hidden in a closet.  Astonished by the words he is reading, the king of Judea is moved by God to repent for the sins of his nation.

3. Retreating to a Remote Location, Mark 1:35-39 & 1 Kings 19:9-13.

To flee distractions and interruptions, Jesus regularly began his day in solitude, talking to God the Father.  This enabled the son of God to go where the Lord wanted Him daily.  Meanwhile, most retreat destinations are located in mountains or valleys, isolated from the hectic pace of life.  This atmosphere opens the door to listen for God’s still small voice.

4. Fasting and Worship, Nehemiah 1:4-11 & Acts 13:1-4.

Fasting is the practice of going without food for a set period to seek God’s will in a specific matter.  When you add worship to this equation, the Holy Spirit often opens up doors that were previous locked.  During a worship service, Paul and Barnabas each sensed a clear calling to become missionaries, sharing the good news of Jesus to a lost and dying world.

5. Keeping in Step with the Holy Spirit, Acts 8:26-31 & Galatians 5:25.

Whether you are in God’s house, fasting, praying, reading the Bible, retreating to recharge your spiritual batteries or in a state of worship, these environments provide unfiltered access to the Holy Spirit.  Essentially, this takes faith to the next level, becoming a doer of the word, Matthew 7:24.  Believers should test every voice, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, before accepting God’s calling, Isaiah 6:8.  If you think I’ve left any place out, please let me know under the comment section.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Not The Ending I Envisioned

Gary Sinise played Lieutenant Dan, a Vietnam squadron leader who holds a grudge against Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, feeling that his destiny was stolen by Gump’s heroic efforts.   Lieutenant Dan believed he was meant to die with his army on the battle field.  Thus, he confronts Forrest, turns to alcohol to drown his sorrow, spending the rest of his life bound to a wheelchair, at least in his mind.

Meanwhile, all Forrest wanted was to be Jenny’s girl, his only friend growing up.  Wherever Forrest was, he thought of Jenny, writing letter after letter, hoping for a storybook ending.  Unfortunately, Forrest received these letters back, returned unopened.  After momma died, Forrest turned to running to clear his mind, tracking thousands of miles across the country.  Despite getting his girl, she dies of H.I.V. before they can grow old together.

Whether you are reading a book, watching a movie or living an act from your life, often the scene doesn’t conclude as you wish.  Instead, the curse of Genesis 3:16-19 provides an alternate ending such as death, paralysis or suicide.  Today, I feel like Lieutenant Dan in the shrimp boat during Hurricane Camille.  However, I’m not telling God “is that all you’ve got?”  Rather, I’ve surrendered, whispering “I can’t take anymore disappointment!”

Psalm 33:10-11 provides the answer to those befuddled by the direction their life has turned.  The Lord foils the plans of nation and thwarts the purposes of people.  I have become a causality of this truth, unable to comprehend the logic of God’s ways.  Yet, somewhere in the pages the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 exists.  Getting to this scene and waiting is the hardest part.  May God’s unfailing love rest on you as you trust the Lord to complete the work that He has begun in you, Philippians 1:6.

by Jay Mankus

Spirit Led; Not Technology Driven

If any of you are a parent or grand parent, perhaps you shake your head as I do watching teens stare at their game systems and cell phones instead of engage in an actual conversation.  Beside sending your kids outside to play, I’m afraid this generation is being led by the spirit of technology.  Sure, the technology misfits like me need their oldest to get most gadgets around the house to work, but isn’t there something parents can do to develop healthy communication skills?

Before ascending to heaven, Acts 1:9-11, Jesus promised to send a counselor to guide people through life.  While Pentecostals often make the mistake of limiting the Spirit of God to spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, the apostles provide clues to become driven by the Holy Spirit.  Philip kept his head up after hearing the Holy Spirit’s still small voice in Acts 8:29, eventually leading an Egyptian to faith in Christ.  Meanwhile, Paul sensed in his heart to avoid visiting Asia on a missionary journey as God’s Spirit kept him from entering their cities, Acts 16:7.

One of the greatest clues left behind is found in Galatians 5.  Inside each human being, there is a war between good and evil as the acts of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:19-21 battle fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.  As modern technology drives souls to feed their fleshly desires, an invisible forces seeks to intervene, urging individuals to stay on the course of faith.  The key to overcoming today’s technology driven culture is found in Galatians 5:25.  By tuning into God, with eyes and ears alert and open, the apostle Paul suggests you can keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, if you emulate this spiritual practice, you will provide a blue print for loved ones to become Spirit led, not technology driven.

by Jay Mankus

A Revelation of Worship

Critics of the Bible have made numerous arguments stating their case against biblical accuracy.  One of the strongest points skeptics have made uses the words of the Scripture to enhance their position, Romans 3:9-12.  If mankind is indeed fallen, how can imperfect people become vessels of holiness.  Well, its quite possible that authors of God’s Word may have received revelations of worship.

According to Exodus 24:12-18, the Lord called Moses to go up into the mountains and stay for 40 days and 40 nights.  Despite any hidden motives or prideful moments, it was likely during this period that Moses recorded the first 3 books of the Bible, taking notes as the Lord spoke.  However, half of his job was already done, receiving stone tablets with commands, laws and further instructions for Israel.  Whenever someone meets God in a quiet place, a divine connection opens the door spiritual intervention and perhaps modern revelations of worship.

One of the places on earth where I have experienced God’s presence was at a wilderness camp in Minnesota, during the heart of winter.  In the final days of Tentmaker’s Youth Ministry Trade School, there was a mandatory 24 hours of silence.  Instead of interacting with future graduates, our final assignment was to engage the Lord through prayer, reflection and Bible Study.  This was a lonely time as I realized that my new friends would soon be spread out across the country, taking what they had learned to a new church and community.

A few months later, I spent a semester teaching at a boarding school in the Monongahela National Forest.  Known as the High Scope Institute for Ideas, this school focused on career underachievers who endured difficult living conditions.  Many of these 13-15 year olds lived in poverty with dysfunctional families.  If this wasn’t enough, several girls had already given birth to children while most boys became first time dads by age 13.  Despite these distractions, the mountain provided a special refuge.

During an activity called 20/20, students were forced to spend 20 minutes a day in solitude either journaling, reading or reflecting on life.  Although some slept, I began to write poetry without any formal background.  Soon songs began to play in my head and before I knew it, I received a revelation of worship called a Simple Confession.  The Holy Spirit gave me 12 songs which I later made into an album.  If a spirit of poetry and song writing can fall upon me just because I was still once a day; then I believe its probable that the Bible is truly the inspired words of God, given to men and women through a still small voice.  Practice Psalm 46:1o and maybe you too many receive a revelation of worship.

by Jay Mankus

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