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Tag Archives: the Perfect Storm

Keep Up Your Courage

The English word cardinal comes from the Latin word cardo, which means hinge. Thus, cardinal virtues are four moral principles which all other virtues are connected. While courage was not selected as a cardinal virtue, prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude share similar traits. The ability to do something that frightens you by exhibiting strength in the face of adversity will test your soul.

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 27:25.

The context of the passage above occurs on ship being battered by the first century’s version of the Perfect Storm. Stuck in the middle of a typhoon for 14 days, the urge to abandon ship increases daily. While everyone else is freaking out, the apostle Paul addresses the crew. Displaying leadership during a time of crisis, Paul verbalizes his complete confidence and faith that God will spare everyone’s life.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you,” Deuteronomy 31:6.

Paul’s comforting message is consistent with the words of Israel’s forefathers. In the passage above, Moses uses a farewell address to remind the Jews that the Lord is with you. This was followed by his predecessor who urges God’s people to be strong and courageous, Joshua 1:9. You shouldn’t have to endure a disaster to be courageous. Rather, God uses extreme situations to provide opportunities for courage to prevail.

by Jay Mankus

Making Sense of the Unexpected

Two weeks ago, there was a tropical depression forming in the Gulf of Mexico.  Most meteorologists believed this system would eventually make landfall some where along the Mexican coast as a minor rain event.  In the matter of 48 hours, Hurricane Harvey intensified into a giant, pounding southeast Texas with over 50 inches of rain over the last week.  After viewing all of this devastation, media pundits are trying to make sense of this unexpected event.

And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them, Mark 13:7-9.

Some of these panelists have suggested this is a sign of the apocalypse, the beginning of the last days or the wrath of God.  Curious about previous Hurricanes and Typhoons, I did some research to see if this has ever happened before.  While listening to a historian,  I discovered that a similar storm stalled over Cuba more than 60 years ago that brought over 100 inches of rainfall.  Due to the lack of technology at the time, there isn’t the video like that aired nightly of the greater Houston area.  Like the 2000 filmed based upon a true story, when the conditions are ideal a Perfect Storm can and will form.

I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things, Isaiah 45:7.

Whether you have the ability to choose where you live or not, there is no perfect place on earth to reside.  Every location has its appeal and negative aspects.  The beach is great but potential storms lurk out in the sea.  Mountains are beautiful until blizzards and white out conditions arrive.  The west coast is scenic until earthquakes abruptly interrupt your plans.  Meanwhile, the Midwest is a wonderful place to live until tornado season arrives.  In the end, you have to make the best of where you live, appreciating the good and enduring the bad.  As for Texas and Louisiana, these people need your prayers as recovery will take months and possibly years.  In the meantime, God is in control as this tragedy has brought communities together to help one another survive.  This is my take on making sense of the unexpected event known as Hurricane Harvey.

by Jay Mankus

A Spiritual Earthquake

The Weather Channel has a history of programs which illustrate strange weather phenomena.  Shows like It Could Happen Tomorrow are based upon ideal conditions which come together to create the perfect storm.  If this has happened in the past, can the same components result in a spiritual earthquake?

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly, Acts 4:31.

One of the first accounts of such of an event is recorded by a first century doctor.  It’s not uncommon for individuals to embellish, exaggerate or stretch the truth.  However, this characteristic is unusual for a respected man of medicine.  Although bizarre, a similar encounter occurs in the city of Philippi.  Sure, this region is known for earthquakes, but is it possible for prayer to create a movement of God which imitates this geological event?

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose, Acts 16:25-26.

Over the past thirty years, I’ve witnessed my own series of answered prayers, healing and miracles.  Although I’ve never experienced anything like these 2 stories in the Bible, I have sensed God’s presence.  During intense periods of prayer and moving worship services in the past, my heart, soul and mind have been energized by an invisible presence.  If you draw close enough to God, perhaps you too will encounter a spiritual earthquake inspired by the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Full Force Nature

 

In their original series Full Force Nature. the Weather Channel credits Mother Nature for these awe inspiring events.  The purpose of each 30 minute episode is to rebroadcast extreme weather conditions caught on film.  However, before the days of phone, ipad and video cameras, historians who survived nature’s full force recorded similar natural disasters.

One such phenomena took place around 1450 years before Christ was born.  According to Moses, an eyewitness, a horrific storm pounded Egypt in Exodus 9:13-32.  This passage reveals God’s anger toward Pharaoh as the Lord unleashes his full power, not holding anything back.  Based upon Moses’ description, lightning, thunder and golf ball sized hail pelted any animals, crops, homes or people who were unprepared.  If we are to take Moses at his word in Exodus 9:23-26, no storm can compared to this massive system sent by the hand of God.

Since God warned Egypt, those who feared God took immediate measures, Exodus 9:20, while the ignorant and skeptics were caught with their pants down.  Unfortunately, in real life, God get’s all the blame for destruction and Mother Nature get’s a pass except for the beautiful days.  Unless you consider the film A Year Without A Santa Claus when most people gave Santa the credit for snow on Christmas Eve.  My point is that you can’t have it both ways, either God created it, He allowed it to happen or scientific conditions for a Perfect Storm merged forming a super cell.

James, the earthly brother of Jesus paints an unique picture.  Like Pharaoh, James doubted Jesus, not able to comprehend God’s full force nature until some how his big brother rose from the dead. Acts 1:3.  This front row seat transformed his perspective of God in James 1:16-17.  James was deceived by the world, unable to grasp the truth until he was confronted by a ghost, a resurrected Christ.  Hopefully, you don’t have to endure an earthquake, hurricane or tornado before you become a believer.  May you share in the promise of James 1:18, passed on by an eyewitness to God’s full force nature.

by Jay Mankus

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