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Tag Archives: the will of God

Divided from the Will of God

The Bible refers to the concept of God having a plan for your life. From Old Testament prophets who write about future plans, Jeremiah 29:11, to the apostle Paul who suggests you can know God’s will, Romans 12:2, callings occur daily. This might be in the form of a convicted conscience, heart felt desire, some sort of dream or inspirational message. Meanwhile, first century Christians believed that each individual was born with a specific gift, personality or talent, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7. This spiritual gift is directly linked or tied to God’s will for your life. If God is the Potter, Romans 9:20-21, the will of God is an ongoing process as clay is molded and shaped, Philippians 1:6.

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made {loaves of} bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, Matthew 4:3-4.

Before beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus withdrew into the wilderness to spiritually prepare himself for this 3 year journey. Understanding the threats He would face, Jesus fasted and prayed to clarify God’s plan like which twelve men to choose to become his disciples. At the conclusion of these preparations, the Devil attempted to separate Jesus from the will of His heavenly father. Jesus had the power to fulfill each request, but what the Devil was asking is outside of God’s will. Each tempting situation was geared toward a specific area of Jesus’ life. Physical hunger, mental acuity, and spiritual obedience. These 3 types of scenarios represent how individuals are tempted daily, aimed at separating human beings from the will of God.

And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written also, You shall not tempt, test thoroughly, or try exceedingly the Lord your God, Matthew 4:6-7.

The apostle Paul unlocks the key to overcoming temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:13. When confronted by the father of lies, John 8:44, Jesus kept looking for the way out. To overcome hunger, Jesus relied on the Word of God, quoting a verse from the Torah. To escape a dare which He was able to demonstrate, Jesus uses the Bible to correct the Devil’s misuse of Scripture. After gaining authority over the earth, Ephesians 2:2, the Devil offers this to Jesus. However, this request is directly opposed to the first commandment. Thus, Jesus finds the way out each time, refusing to deviate from God’s plan.

Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them. And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve.

Every human being has a weakness, sinful tendencies that they have a hard time resisting, Romans 7:15-17. As the ruler of the air, the Devil doesn’t need drones or hidden cameras, he sees and knows our weaknesses. Perhaps, this explains why so many former Christians have abandoned their faith, prodigals who have yet to come to their senses. Each decision you make has a blessing or consequence. Good choices keep you on track, but poor decisions cause you to drift further and further away from God. Freewill gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. However, at what point will you consider God’s calling, plan and will for your life? Whatever you decide, hold on to Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

Stop Blocking Miracles

As a novice student, when high school teachers and college professors started to repeat something, my classmates began to write this information down in their notebooks. Others instructors would be more obvious, coughing in jest or implying, “hum… this sounds like a good test question.” However, when the son of God, Jesus, repeats the same message three chapters later, you might want to take this to heart. In the verses below, Jesus takes two different scenarios that illustrate how and why individuals can block miracles from occurring.

“Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them,” Matthew 18:19-20.

This first passage is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. A month doesn’t go by without someone in church, a person praying or a pastor on television who names and claims this promise. However, Jesus places two escape clauses in verse 19. The first refers to harmony within the body of Christ. God wants members of a congregation to be on the same page, united in the decisions that are made. The second clause mentions the will of God. Prayers that exclude, ignore or go outside the will of God will be rejected. Thus, whenever discord or selfishness exists, potential miracles will be blocked and nullified.

Jesus replied to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, if you have faith [personal trust and confidence in Me] and do not doubt or allow yourself to be drawn in two directions, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen [if God wills it]. 22 And whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you will receive,” Matthew 21:21-22.

The second disclaimer is based upon faith. Despite witnessing miracle after miracle, the disciples struggled to place their complete confidence and trust in Jesus. When a fig tree isn’t bearing fruit in season, Jesus curses it, withering this tree immediately. Using this as a teachable moment, Jesus refers to a mountain blocking your view from God’s full potential. Thus, the key element is a persistent faith that believes you will receive what you ask for in prayer. When this is missing, a lack of faith blocks potential miracles from occurring. Therefore, if you want to determine what’s keeping you from ascending to your full potential, you may be out of alignment with God’s will. Or traces of doubt are holding back future miracles. May this blog help you gain understanding into what God truly desires.

by Jay Mankus

A Blank Page

As a former athlete, there is nothing like the beginning of a new season.  Every team and each player starts with a clean slate, a blank page waiting to be filled.  While coaches may have certain expectations, only God knows what the final outcome will be.  Thus, as a new school year commences, determination, focus and hard work will dictate how these blank pages will be filled.

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.

The apostle Paul provides advice for how to approach blank pages.  The key is your mindset, how will you be influenced by worldly temptations?  To avoid a nightmare or poor start, the Bible urges believers to renew your mind by mediating on biblical principles.  As you do, the Holy Spirit will provide discernment to help guide you toward understanding God’s will for your life.

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people, 1 Peter 2:15.

As a former high teacher, I understand that immature teenagers don’t take certain classes seriously.  Thus, when progress reports go out early in the fall, some parents will be surprised by low grades.  If the ignorance of foolish behavior continues, grade point averages will plummet.  However, for those who press on to overcome a slow start, when blank pages are completed good deeds inspired by faith will overshadow mistakes from the past.

by Jay Mankus

A Different Kind of Miracle

The saying God works in mysterious ways is not an actual Bible verse.  Nor does this phrase possess an original author.  Rather, most historians attribute this expression to 9 specific passages of the Bible which imply a similar notion.  After suffering a freak accident last Friday afternoon, I feel compelled to share the details of a different kind of miracle.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God, Romans 8:26-27.

Every summer I long for going to the beach, often boogie boarding and body surfing for several hours at a time.  While I am not as young as I use to be, I often dive in trying to stay side by side my three teenagers.  Last Friday, the beach was closed for several hours due to sharks in the water.  When it re-opened late in the afternoon, I had one eye on the waves and the other on what lurks beneath, preparing my mind for a Jaws like attack on my children.

By referring to this, when you read it you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which in other generations was not disclosed to mankind, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the [Holy] Spirit; Ephesians 3:4-5.

As time passed, the waves intensified, consistently 5 feet tall with an occasional 8 footer.  Since the shark scare caused most swimmers to leave, this was ideal conditions for boogie boarding.  Initially, I rode a couple of waves right into shore before getting roughed up by a strong undertow.  On my last ride of the day, I didn’t have enough momentum as the wave broke.  Panicking, I made a quick turn to abort, but this didn’t happen in time as I was flipped and thrown down 8 feet to the ocean floor face first.

The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, Colossians 1:26-27.

When I reached the surface, I felt like I broke my jaw, lost my front teeth and began bleeding.  A nearby lifeguard jumped off his stand, running into the water to see if I was okay.  Shook up, I limped to my car, with bumps, bruises and scraps.  A few days later, I spoke with a co-worker who is a former resident nurse.  Based upon our conversation, if my fall was slightly to the left or right, I could have easily broken my neck or even be paralyzed today.  Thus, in hindsight, this embarrassing experience of the agony of defeat is actually a different kind of miracle.

by Jay Mankus

 

A Church That is Right When the World is Wrong

Fulton J. Sheen was born in 1895.  Before his death in 1979, Sheen became an outspoken bishop in the Catholic Church.  Sheen’s popularity began as a preacher on radio and television programs.  One of his famous quotes would have offended many if announced today.  Yet, Sheen’s goal was to establish a church that is right when the world around it is wrong.  While logical on the surface, a changing world is often offended by those who cling to absolute truths.

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.

Fulton was merely practicing the teaching of the apostle Paul.  During the height of the Roman Empire, emperors used their influence to ban, persecute and on some occasions put Christians to death.  Like a bully trying to control those around them, the apostle Paul urged first century believers to win the battle of the mind.  Unless you protect your mind through a daily dose of Bible Study, prayer and worship, conformity to the world will occur at some point.  When this happens to church leaders, the power of the Bible is lost as doctrines become watered down.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

The Bible uses several analogies to explain the ongoing schemes of Satan.  Jesus refers to this fallen angel as the father of all lies.  One of Satan’s objectives is to convince Christians to bend, overlook or stretch the truth.  When weak minded leaders take over a church, worldly beliefs are slowly blended into biblical teaching.  The theological term for this process is known as syncretism.  Unfortunately, when this dangerous practice begins to spread, there isn’t much difference between the church and the rest of society.  When the light of Christ fades and the saltiness of faith disappears Fulton’s goal becomes impossible.  May the Fulton’s quote many years ago inspire believers today to develop a church that is right when the world is wrong.

by Jay Mankus

The Power of Thanksgiving

The Hebrew word for thanksgiving is ydh, referring to a public acknowledgement.  Greek uses the term efcharisto meaning the sense of appreciation, inspiring an expression of gratitude.  When a spirit of thanksgiving is verbalized to the down trodden, hurting and needy, affirmations can uplift anyone feeling down in the dumps.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! – Psalm 106:1

Unfortunately, there is a negative force at work in the world, breeding critics, complaining and condemnation.  Whenever human beings give into the sinful nature, acts of the flesh come forth, usually in a cruel and harsh manner.  This mental barrier prevents individuals from doing the right thing as the apostle Paul describes in Romans 7.  The only way to break free from this addictive habit is through Jesus Christ.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

As a former professional golfer, my mind always got in the way, preventing me from reaching my full potential on the golf course.  Yet, the mind also hampers those off the course, in real life, whispering doubts, failure and ungodly beliefs into your head.  Unless you confront this battle with spiritual weapons, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, victories will be few and far between.  Despite this troubling reality, with God all things are possible.  Therefore, if you want to make a difference this holiday season, unleash the power of Thanksgiving by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

Thank You For the Journey

Following birthdays, graduations and weddings, individuals often feel compelled to send thank you cards.  While certain presents are more impressive than others, it’s the thought that counts.  Although this process may be time consuming, it’s the appropriate response.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Unfortunately, most people don’t do the same with the Lord.  After a remarkable day, month or phase in life, it’s time to give the Lord the credit for victories in life.  Sure, you might have put in the effort and time to succeed.  Yet, it never hurts to thank God for the journey of life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change, James 1:17.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul took missionary journeys to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.  Some trips were extended while others were cut short.  Other plans were thwarted due to demonic forces.  Like making a wedding vow, in the good or bad, make sure you take a moment daily to pause by thanking God for the journey.

by Mankus

 

 

Leaving God at Home While on Vacation

Children often come up with creative means to make the complex simplistic.  Over the years some of these ideas have become popular trinkets.  Whether you are talking about W.W.J.D. bracelets, (what would Jesus do), various crosses or prayer stones, these products serve as reminders of God.  However, when you leave home to go on vacation, it’s not that difficult to forget about God completely.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 12:1-2.

A medieval proverb speaks to this truth.  Out of sight out of mind was first published by John Heywood in the middle of the 16th century.  Since Heywood was an avid collector of proverbs, this phrase is thought to have originated during medieval times.  While not a biblical passage, this concept does apply to godly principles.  The mind is like a regulator for human thoughts.  When your mind wonders, it becomes susceptible to demonic influences.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.

Although you might have good intentions and motives when you go on vacation, it doesn’t take much to leave God at home.  Finding time alone to pray, read or go to church takes energy, planning and time.  When family time consumes people, distractions can lead driven individuals to make compromises.  Unless you are extremely disciplined, trips can be over before you know it with a Bible unopened, prayers silenced and God ignored.  May my recent experience motivate others to remember to bring God with you the next time you go away on vacation.

by Jay Mankus

 

Connect to Disconnect

To connect refers to bringing into contact so that a real link or relationship is established.  Unfortunately, this definition did not foresee how electronics and technology would pervert this term.  Subsequently, when individuals pick up their phones in public this act is essentially connecting to the internet to disconnect.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh, Genesis 2:24.

According to the Bible, God’s original intent of creating human beings is to become married, have children and spend the rest of their lives together.  While some still abide and strive to live this out, many have developed counter views.  This disagreement has divided churches, families and nations.  Yet, as consumers observe and notice how people tune out others due to cell phones perhaps a movement will begin to end this poor societal habit.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 12:1-2.

The apostle Paul provides a solution for this dilemma.  To avoid connecting to disconnect requires a spiritual act of worship.  Instead of taking a self-indulgence approach, God wants individuals to dedicate their gifts and talents to the Lord.  As people begin to read, study and meditate on the Bible, minds will become transformed from their previous way of thinking.  If you continue on this track, God promises to reveal His ultimate will for your life.  Put your phone down today or else you might fall prey to connecting to disconnect.

by Jay Mankus

 

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