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Tag Archives: Egypt

The End of Innocence

As I look around, listen and observe modern culture, I feel like a foreigner living in a strange land.  Maybe I lived a sheltered life up to this point in time?  Yet, the anger expressed, constant acts of disrespect displayed and vulgar vocabulary casually verbalized daily signal the end of innocence.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble, Proverbs 16:4.

I’m clearly not the first to suggest this.  During the glory years of the nation of Israel, Solomon recognized similar signs.  After reflecting upon why this may be occurring, King Solomon came to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason.  Perhaps, these social cycles serve as a transitional period like the cleansing of the tides in the ocean.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today, Genesis 50:20.

Despite how bleak the future looks on the surface, it’s important to remember the words from Joseph above.  Although his brothers meant to harm him through an act of revenge, God allowed this to occur to lead Joseph to the land of Egypt.  Once the timing was ideal, the Lord elevated Joseph to second in command, preparing the region for seven years of famine.  As you experience turbulent times in life, may the Lord give you the foresight to remain optimistic whatever the situation.  Use the end of innocence as an opportunity to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of this age.

by Jay Mankus

From Bad to Unbearable

There is an old cliché of going from bad to worse.  However, in some circumstances individuals experience unbearable conditions.  Sometimes this occurs due to an accident, illness or trial.  Whenever you encounter one of these extremes, faith and perseverance are essential to survive.

“You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.  But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God,’ Exodus 5:7-8.

During Israel’s 400 years of slavery in Egypt, Pharaoh took out his frustrations on the Hebrew servants.  Beginning in Exodus 5, the quota of work remained the same, but the workers were forced to now collect straw to make bricks.  This decision was like the last straw forcing God’s hand to ramp up the plagues on Pharaoh.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him, James 1:12.

One of Jesus’ brothers records a mindset necessary to overcome harsh periods in life.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that when most people hear it you reply, “yeah right.”  Nonetheless, staying positive is half the battle.  Any type of negativity can poison minds resulting in an avalanche of doubt.  Therefore, the next time things go from bad to worse in your life, consider it a pure joy so that those who endure will receive the crown of life.

by Jay Mankus

Jehovah Rapha

Israel spent 400 years in Egypt as slaves, enduring harsher conditions the longer they stayed.  When the timing was right, God chose Moses, a man with a severe speech impediment to represent Israel before Pharaoh.  Initially, Moses rejected God’s calling, as the Lord sends along his brother Aaron to address Egypt’s leader.  Although its not mentioned, Moses slowly takes control of these daily meetings with Pharaoh.  The absence of stammering suggests God healed Moses of his stuttering.

He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you,” Exodus 15:26.

Through Moses’ personal experience, set from from stuttering, the term Jehovah Rapha was coined.  This name for God means the Lord who heals.  After being eyewitnesses of the Passover, Israel saw the hand of God at work, passing over their doors to kill first born Egyptians.  The passage above serves as a reminder to work just happened as well as a call to action to carefully follow God’s commands while waiting to receive God’s promised land.

God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, Psalm 147:3.

Today, healing is one of those prayers and wants the sick desperately seek.  Yet, for those who have prayed for healing and sit helplessly waiting around to watch loved ones die, its hard to keep the faith.  While Jehovah Rapha is still actively at work, some never see the fruit of time on their knees.  Despite a lack of results, believers can not forget the words of Moses in Exodus 15:26.  Healing doesn’t always come instantaneously.  Rather, wounds take time to close.  When you back is against the door, cry out to Jehovah Rapha to mend your heart and soul.

by Jay Mankus

The Original Food Bank

I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance, Mark 8:2-3.

The concept of a food bank can be traced back to the days of Pharaoh under the leadership of Joseph.  Serving as the Secretary of Agriculture and blessed with visions of a coming drought, Joseph rose to second in command of Egypt developing a surplus of food to prepare for seven years of famine.  Humanitarians of the past inspired the creation of the world’s first food bank in 1967, founded in the United States and now there are several throughout the globe.

His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them? “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked. “Seven,” they replied, Mark 8:4-5.

However, there is one person who can be credited as the original food bank.  Jesus was constantly observant of others, thinking of their well being.  This mentality motivated Jesus to get his twelve disciples involved in this process.  Like any selfish person, they wanted to pass the buck, letting someone else provide assistance.  Pressing the issue, Jesus asked a simple question, “what do you have to give?”

The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over, Mark 8:8.

Today, countless needy people exist wherever you may live.  Unfortunately, most that possess the means don’t have the ambition, drive and time to reach out to souls who are hungry and thirsty.  I’m just as guilty as the next person, distracted by my own wants and needs.  Despite this reality, we all have something give.  Therefore, the next time you have some spare change, time or resources to share, follow in the footsteps of Jesus who is the original food bank.

by Jay Mankus

 

Hearing the Truth

On January 1st, 1863, the emancipation proclamation was issued by president Abraham Lincoln.  This declaration served as a measure during the Civil War, giving 3-4 million slaves in the 10 southern states that rebelled, freedom from their owners.  Unfortunately, for those in Texas, the news did not arrive until June 19th, 1865.  The truth about slavery was withheld, 30 months late, allowing slave owners to maintain control until 2 months after the Civil war ended.

Today, America’s media has become more partisan than ever.  If this trend continues, what facts will be kept silent?  More than ever before, news is being filtered for political means, overemphasizing the positive and suppressing any negative information.  Unless one does their homework, studying history, researching records and testing everything that you hear, read or see, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, you might be surprised by the message journalists want you to believe.

According to Dr. Tony Evans, when the end of slavery was brought forth to Texans, several slaves did not know how to respond to freedom.  Like the Israelites in Egypt, they had grown accustom to a certain way of life, dependent on others for aid and shelter.  Subsequently, some remained prisoners to this way of life.  From a spiritual sense, a vast amount of citizens find themselves enslaved to sin, Romans 7:14-20, unable to free their actions from addictive behavior.  Unless people hear the truth, Romans 10:17, individuals will continue down this lonesome road.  May you be inspired to read the words of Jesus in John 8:34-36 so that you will hear the truth and the truth will set you free!

by Jay Mankus

Importing Deities

Countries tend to import articles, goods or services when there is an increase in demand or no entity from within who can provide this in a timely manner.  However, spiritual elements are imported daily, often going unnoticed by citizens.  These subtle deities contain hidden powers, fueled by demonic strongholds that exist throughout the world.  If not rejected and deported, hearts, minds and worldviews will be transformed, shifting the beliefs of a nation.

According to C.S. Lewis, apologetics involves finding common areas and beliefs that you share with other world religions.  His logic is based upon one simple principle, “no one want’s to hear that you are right and everyone else is wrong,” Mere Christian, Book 2, chapter 1.  When it comes to importing deities, no one is as resolute as Islam.  Meanwhile, several Christian denominations have begun practicing Syncretism, blending practices not found in the Bible, Deuteronomy 4:2, with the Christian faith.

As Israel approached the promised land, a similar temptation arose to import gods from Egypt.  Leviticus 17:7 suggests that some had already carried foreign traditions with Israel into the desert.  Laying down the law, through the words of Moses passed down from generation to generation, this command still applies, importing foreign deities is prohibited.  Going forward, make sure you practice 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, testing everything you hear or read with the truths of Scripture.  By doing this, you will protect your mind from further harm, 2 Corinthians 10:5.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Time After Time… God Forgives

On June 9th, 1984, Time After Time, the second single released from Cindi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual” album hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Charts.  Thirty years later, these lyrics still speaks to individuals searching for forgiveness, patience or mercy.  Whether you’re a parent like me, a friend struggling to understand a wayward soul or reminiscing about brighter days, these words provide hope.

One day, a music director began to experience flash backs, like a scene from Back to the Future.  However, in this case, God was reminding Asaph about Israel’s days in Egypt.  Based upon the length of Psalm 78, this vivid vision brought understanding to 400 years of slavery.  Upon reaching freedom, Israel became like a misguided child unable to break bad habits, falling prey to the same sins time after time.  Despite their actions, God withheld his wrath, forgiving, time after time, Psalm 78:36-38.

Today, an unforgiving world, constantly reminding you of past transgressions makes it difficult to believe that an unseen Creator can actually wipe your slate clean.  Despite how many times you’ve failed in life, the Lord demonstrates unconditional love, Psalm 103:11-12.  In view of this truth, don’t let this opportunity slip away.  Rather, practice James 5:16 daily so that like Cindi Lauper’s song, God will forgive time after time.

by Jay Mankus