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Tag Archives: overcoming doubt

When Your Mind Get’s in the Way

Depending upon how you were raised, parents give advice, guidance and warnings as you grow up.  Some of the common phrases of my generation were “think before you speak, open mouth insert foot” and simply “think.”  These words suggest that sometimes your mind gets in the way.

But the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people! They’re too strong for us!”  – Numbers 13:31

In the Old Testament, God had promised Israel a new land flowing with milk and honey.  Before entering this place, Moses sent out a team to explore this region.  Known as the 12 Spies, only two brought back a positive report.  The other ten were misled by minds gripped with fear.  This first glance underestimated the power of God as their minds got in the way.

 Caleb told the people to be quiet and listen to Moses. Caleb said, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it,” Numbers 13:30.

In the end, the voices of Caleb and Joshua were silenced by the majority.  However, if you want to overcome doubt, leaders must raise their voices to convince the feeble and weak.  The next time you hear a crowd minimizing the power of God, step out in faith to persuade the masses.  If you don’t the human mind will get in the way, leaving you outside of the blessings God has in store for you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

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Prepared for the Anointing?

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In the film Facing the Giants, the head football coach at Shiloh High accidently walks by a private meeting to oust him as coach.  Devastated by this revelation, a conversation with the janitor the next day changes his perspective.  This wise man recalls a parable of farmers waiting for rain to plant crops.  Only one man plowed his fields in expectation of God’s answer to prayers for water.  The janitor asked this coach at the end of his story, which one are you?

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him, 1 John 2:27.

Author Gary Smalley wrote a book entitled the Blessing when I was in college.  A friend suggested that I should read this before getting married.  During a marriage encounter seminar that Leanne and I attended while engaged, this resource was confirmed as a must read.  The book examines the Old Testament practice of Jewish fathers passing on a blessing to their oldest son.  However, in the case of Isaac and Jacob, the youngest deceives his brother to receive this special anointing.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,” Luke 4:18.

Due to a breakdown in the American family, absentee fathers aren’t around to bless, develop and raise their own children.  Meanwhile, the passing of the torch from one generation to the next is being dropped.  Subsequently, young men are being robbed of this blessing.  These circumstances have created a mood where doubt reigns.  Until this atmosphere changes, no one is preparing for the anointing of God due to a lack of hope and faith.  May divine intervention reverse this trend.

by Jay Mankus

 

Faking Holiness

If your life was placed on a chart or graph, there would be peaks and valleys with plateaus somewhere in between.  High points mark periods of success and victories within life.  The low areas represent failures where doubt and disappointment often attack your soul.  Unfortunately, human nature causes many to assign blame for their valleys rather than finding fault from within.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.

Since salaries and wages are normally based upon the services or work provided, its easy to say, “look what I did.”  Yet, the apostle Paul reminds individuals that salvation is not based upon human efforts.  Rather, God’s grace opens the door to eternity, providing access to the undeserving like me.  Sure, I can put on a good face, pretending to be a godly Christian.  Nonetheless, I find myself going through the motions way too often, lukewarm and faking holiness.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

During my recent Daniel Fast, conviction of this fact has consumed me.  Despite my flaws, I am thankful for the passage above.  Jesus died for imperfect people like me, a demonstration of God’s agape love.  May those of you who reach a similar low point embrace biblical promises by accepting God’s free gift by faith.  Don’t pretend to have things all together.  Rather, confess your sins and pray for healing so that reconciliation will begin.

by Jay Mankus

Consequences of Unbelief

In my days as a coach and teacher, unbelief is like an invisible cloud that stalls out and begins to affect and influence minds.  This negative vibe spreads through doubt, fear and a lack of confidence.  After the main contributor is eliminated or removed, those remaining have a hard time of being convinced that success and victory is attainable.

So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief, Hebrews 3:19.

According to the author of Hebrews, this is what Moses faced as a growing number of Israelites took their eyes off of God on the way to receive the Promised Land.  Thus, one of the consequences of unbelief is rebellion.  Apparently, several individuals wanted to return to Egypt, afraid they would die in the wilderness.  This wave of emotions prevented an older generation from being able to enter and experience God’s promised land.

“ ’If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes,” Mark 9:23.

Today, one of the greatest consequences of unbelief is unanswered prayers and health conditions that do not improve.  Even trained disciples succumb to the power of unbelief after an unsuccessful attempt of casting out an evil spirit.  For most people, each day is like a test, waiting to see if God improves their situation.  The longer one goes without any tangible signs of improvement, the greater unbelief becomes.  When you reach this point, hold on to the promise of Mark 9:23, so that belief will make that which was once impossible possible.

by Jay Mankus

Expecting to Find a Place of Prayer

In recent years, cynicism, doubt and hypocrisy have hardened many hearts.  Trying to find real genuine people who aren’t hiding behind a series of lies is tough.  Perhaps this explains why Bible believing churches are vanishing, pressured to confirm by a liberal culture.  Jesus predicted this in the last days where a decaying spiritual climate would develop.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, Matthew 24:12.

At one time in America, churches were the center of cities, towns and rural communities.  If you needed assistance in form of advice, food or shelter, there was usually some place you could go for help.  In the first century, if there weren’t enough men to start synagogues, worship took place outside of towns, usually at the nearest body of water.  Thus, when the apostle Paul traveled to Philippi he expected to find a place of prayer.

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there, Acts 16:13.

One of the cornerstones of the first and second great awakenings were nightly prayer meetings.  Although initial events only brought out a few participants, concerts of prayer spread as a spirit of conviction led people to confess their sins.  Unfortunately, in this day and age, a sin isn’t what it use to be.  Compromise, justifying actions and the elimination of absolutes have breed lukewarm spirits.  Thus, there isn’t a sense of urgency to get right with God.  As a new year begins, may be people will change for the better, developing hearts that expect to find places of prayer.

by Jay Mankus

Words that Elevate Faith

In the early 1980’s, Bill McCartney was an ordinary college football coach at the University of Colorado.  Following a breakthrough, McCartney realized that he couldn’t treat each player the same.  To get the most out of his team, some athletes were challenged, others provided with words of encouragement and an occasion, a hug to elevate their psyche.  This communication style lifted the Buffalo’s to the 1990 National Championship.  Later on that same year, God inspired McCartney to found Promises Keepers, a ministry to strengthen the faith of married men.

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes,” Mark 9:23.

When the disciples vowed to heal a father’s son, he hoped healing would come soon.  Unfortunately, these novice healers weren’t able to improve this boy’s situation, powerless against the strong demonic forces within this child.  As Jesus approached some Pharisees speaking with his disciples, He was likely shaking his head in disappointment.  Like a doctor examining a patient, Jesus asks the father for a brief history of his son’s condition.  Following their discussion, Jesus recognized the need for prayer mixed with words that might elevate the faith of this boy’s father.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”- Mark 9:24

If you read in between the lines, belief or lack there of is a contributing factor to one’s faith.  Those who have never been exposed to healing, miracles or a supernatural event will likely doubt the presence of a higher, supreme being.  Yet, it only takes one encounter, experience or positive influence to ignite the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, don’t listen to the naysayers, negative voices and pessimistic chatter which abounds.  Rather, walk as Jesus did and inspire others like Coach McCartney so that the words that come out of your mouth will elevate the faith of those around you.

by Jay Mankus

About to Pass You By

Anyone who is fixated on their circumstances, may miss someone or something that God wants you to see.  Blind spots don’t just occur on car mirrors, individuals can get so entrenched in their own lives that time can pass you by.  If you’re not careful, you might wake up one morning and most of your life is gone.

He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, Mark 6:48.

Jesus tried to teach his disciples a similar lesson following the feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6.  Sending them ahead in a boat, Jesus stayed back to pray on a mountainside.  I’m not sure why he walked on the water, but it appears God wanted His son to do so, serving as an abstract lesson.  Although the sun had not risen yet, moonlight provided Jesus with light to see his way.  About to pass their boat by, the disciples finally recognized him, causing a stir of emotions.

But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – Mark 6:49-50

If Jesus could feed a crowd of 5,000, walking on water shouldn’t have been a surprise to his disciples.  Nonetheless, people limit God’s power, surprised by answered prayers and miracles.  Perhaps so many walk around defeated, they don’t know what its like to experience victory in Christ.  Doubt, failure and misery can promote a sense of hopelessness that lingers. Therefore, if you feel like time is about to pass you by without tasting success, take courage, don’t be afraid and believe in the power of the resurrection to transform your situation.

by Jay Mankus