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Tag Archives: tornados

A Spiritual Quake

Beginning in John 14, Jesus reveals specific details about the Spirit of God. Seven words are selected to describe this spiritual entity in verse 16.  Helper, comforter, advocate, intercessor, counselor, strengthener and standby reveal what this promised spiritual guide will be able to do for those who believe. In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit takes on the presence of a violent wind and quake.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit]. And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other [btongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately], Acts 2:1-4.

A first century doctor chooses some interesting words to describe this foreign object. Like an unidentified flying object, the Holy Spirit appears as tongues of fire falling from heaven. Oddly enough, there was no fear or running away of these flames. Rather, apostles, disciples and godly individuals were immediately transformed. In the process, Hooked on Phonics was not necessary as God’s Spirit enabled these believers to communicate to strangers in different languages.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were meeting together was shaken [a sign of God’s presence]; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness and courage, Acts 4:31.

After everything calmed down, Peter stood up to explain what had just happened. Acts 2:38 explains how eyewitnesses of this event can receive this same Spirit.  According to Peter, repenting and baptism must occur before access to the Holy Spirit is granted. Two chapters later Peter and John refuse to stop talking about Jesus. This spiritual stand triggers a spiritual earthquake.  According to Luke, this shaking was merely a sign of God’s presence.  If your life is currently void of any spiritual fruit, perhaps its time to follow in the footsteps of the apostles so that the Holy Spirit will quake to awaken your soul.

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

After the Storm

Depending upon where you live, everyone will face some sort of storm in life.  The northern states must cope with blizzards.  The heartland must be on guard against tornados.  The coasts need to keep watch for hurricanes, nor’easters and tsunamis.  Those who live somewhere in between might face a combination of these natural disasters.  However, no one, not even the weather forecasters foresaw how destructive Hurricane Harvey and it’s tropical moisture could impact southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana.

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping, Matthew 8:24.

After this storm goes away, Texas and part of Louisiana might experience a 9/11 like effect.  Only God knows what lies underneath the millions of gallons of water flooding entire cities.  To rebound from this epic tragedy, communities, neighbors and residents are going to have to come together despite their political differences for a common goal, rebuild.  While news crews are waiting anxiously to air this carnage, nothing can prepare these individuals for the resolve needed to overcome these extreme conditions.  Like the motto following the Boston marathon bombing, Boston Strong, Texas and Louisiana need to unite to rise again after this storm.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm, Matthew 8:25-26.

During the first century, Jesus had just turned down individuals who wanted to become disciples.  Perhaps, even some of the twelve disciples questioned their own abilities to meet Jesus’ expectations on a trip across the Sea of Galilee.  Out of no where, a violent storm emerged without warning.  Tired from healing countless needy people earlier in the day, Jesus took a nap.  Fearful for their lives, the disciples woke up Jesus, hoping He would save them.  Based upon Jesus’ response, his disciples had a long way to go, far from the faith expected by now.  For those affected by Hurricane Harvey and it’s tropical storm, may you possess great faith while you cope with the unknowns in the future.

by Jay Mankus

Blocked Paths

With the recent tornado outbreak in the mid-west, I am reminded that landscapes can be forever changed in a blinking of an eye.  After the storm subsides, mangled debris, trees stripped of their bark and objects lay in ruin.  Streets, homes and parks blend together into one, shutting down entry and exit into a town for days at a time.

For those who have experienced Job-like trials in their lives, its easy to feel trapped.  Some times when we cry out to God for answers, a sin in our life blocks the path, causing our connection with the Holy Spirit to fail.  When Christian’s experience spiritual power outages, they are most vulnerable, opening a door to demons of despair, hopelessness and suicide like Judas in Matthew 27:1-5.

As I stress, day after day, praying and searching for a new position, I am reminded of Ephesians 2:10.  The apostle Paul uses the Greek word poiema, meaning end product.  The English word used in the translation from the Greek is workmanship.  What Paul is trying to say in this passage is God is the Poet and we are His Poems.  Although we may appear to face a blocked path or experience writer’s block, God knows the ending to our poem.  Therefore, if you are feeling discouraged today, read Ephesians 2:10, claim the good works God has prepared in advance for us and trust God to carry you through life’s storms!

by Jay Mankus

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