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Iniquities That Drown Out My Prayers

“So when you spread out your hands [in prayer, pleading for My help], I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you offer many prayers,
I will not be listening. Your hands are full of blood! “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Get your evil deeds out of My sight. Stop doing evil, Isaiah 1:15-16.

How many times a day are you forced to listen to boring conversations? Co-workers may have to endure colleagues who love to talk and never shut up. Meanwhile, students have to sit through hour long lectures, often pretending to be entertained just to get a good grade. While some people crave intimate dialogue, others simply embrace the sound of silence.

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save, Nor His ear so impaired that it cannot hear. But your wickedness has separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear, Isaiah 59:1-2.

From God’s perspective, billions of prayers are lifted up to heaven daily. Trying to sort through all of these requires an act of God as it is. Nonetheless, how many of these prayers are genuine, impure or selfish? Isaiah comments on disingenuous prayers. According to this Old Testament prophet, prayers aren’t designed as an escape plan or get well wish. Rather, God has specific expectations that requires a contrite heart.

“For the eyes of the Lord are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), And His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer), But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil,” 1 Peter 3:12.

Thus, if your prayer life is like mine, you will experience days, weeks and months of prayers that go unanswered. According to the Bible, iniquities drown out your prayers. An iniquity is considered grossly unfair behavior, deemed criminal, foul or immoral. Essentially what God is trying to say to anyone before they pray, “get your act together, clean up your life up and stop doing evil things.” Unless acts of contrition supersede your prayers, the presence of iniquities will continue to drown out your prayers.

by Jay Mankus

Is Jesus Missing?

I was watching a chick flick with my wife earlier in the day when I came across a catchy punch line.  Viewing “A New Town” on the Hallmark Channel, an ambitious woman seeking to become a CEO, volunteers to oversee her companies new acquisition in New Alm, Minnesota.  Beside the culture shock of leaving the city of Miami for a small northern town, her liberal beliefs clash with the religion of rural America.  When asked if she had found Jesus, her response, “I didn’t know he was missing,” didn’t go over so well.

In professional sports, a similar line is often used to explain athletes who have turned their lives around following battles with alcohol, drugs and the law.  Finding God, Jesus or religion is a common theme of the source behind these transformations.  However, the success rate is not 100% as many are unable to completely break free from bad habits of their past.  While victims of sin tend to blame God for their travails, Jesus isn’t the one missing, we are.

A relationship with Jesus is no different than any other thing that you want in life, you get what you put into it.  Matthew 16:24-26 illustrates this concept like a blue print for how to find Jesus.  Unfortunately, most people follow the path of the actress in A New Town, forfeiting their soul on the way to the top of materialism.  The next time you feel abandoned by God, don’t be deceived by the father of lies, John 8:44.  Rather, reflect upon Jesus’ words in the sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:33 so that the blessings of God will convince the world that Jesus is alive.

by Jay Mankus

 

Powerless

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Last night, my favorite lamp (if there is such a thing) and the only light source in our family room went out just before Bible Study.  After investigating for a few minutes, I discovered the main plug had begun to tear away from the cord creating a fire hazard.  Thus, I was forced to improvise, bringing a lamp from upstairs as a temporary solution.  Without an electrician at my immediate disposal, I was powerless, left in the dark contemplating another annoying hassle thrown into the equation called life.

On August 14th, 2003, 50 million residents of the Northeastern portion of the United States were powerless, forced to resume life without power during the largest power outage in U.S. history.  An aging electrical grid left residents from Ohio,  across to New York City and up as far as Ontario, Canada without power.  Like a bad practical joke, America didn’t have a choice except slow down, go back in time and make the best of life for 24 hours.  Fortunately, I had moved to southern Indiana in June or I would have spent my birthday in the dark.

Enslaved by technology 10 years later, this generation might have a hissy fit if a similar outage occurs, crying out for 4G, their favorite game systems and high definition television.  Blinded by the delicacies of life, many adults still act like spoiled children, complaining until they get their way.  Romans 8:3 refers to a spiritual blackout, where people are powerless, unable to save themselves from sin and its powerful grip.  In a pit of despair, Psalm 30:1-3, helpless to turn life around, God sent his son Jesus to be a sin offering, cancelling the debts we have accrued .  Therefore, the next time the lights go out for an extended time, grab a flashlight and find a Bible.  While you may be powerless, God provides the juice in Romans 5:8 to flip your life around for good.

by Jay Mankus

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