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Tag Archives: seeking God

Fighting for Harmony

Most people don’t view life in terms of harmony.  Yet, musicians and song writers seek a place or state of mind where creativity flows.  Others withdraw to a secluded location, retreating to regain joy and purpose for life.  Behind the scenes, in one way or another, we are all struggling to find harmony.

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding, Romans 14:19.

Prior to beginning his earthly ministry, Jesus spent forty days in the desert.  Fasting, praying and seeking God for insight, Jesus avoided the typical distractions within daily life.  This time of reflection served as a transitional period from a carpenter to a fisher of men.  Jesus turned his attention away from financial needs toward building a spiritual team of disciples.  Along the way, Satan arrives in Matthew 4:1-9 to disrupt this harmony.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind, 1 Peter 3:8.

Similar visits occur today by demons seeking to divide families, communities and nations.  Based upon current events, it appears the Devil is accomplishing his goal.  Anger, dissension and gossip are on the rise, fueled by social media.  Instead of attacking the source, people are fighting one another with words of hate.  Perhaps, it’s time to withdraw into the wilderness to reverse this trend by fighting back to regain a sense of harmony.

by Jay Mankus

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When You Run Out of Words to Say

As someone who clings to pray, I experience many days where I draw a blank.  Unable to come up with the words to express what I’m feeling, I pause, wondering where to go next.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I don’t have the gift of conversation.  Sure, I have my hot button issues that friends may tell me to shut up or change the topic.  Nonetheless, most of the time I am tapped out, running out of words to say.

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, Ezekiel 11:19.

When it comes to prayer, some people truly have a gift.  As these individuals open their mouth, words flow freely as it God is in room with them.  Trying to follow anyone like this in a prayer group can be humbling, spitting out whatever comes to my mind.  Yet, there is much to learn from those who possess the gift of prayer.  Asking, probing and seeking wisdom is a great place to start, especially if you struggle like me to come up with words to lift up to God as you pray.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also, Luke 12:34.

Several years ago I attended a Bible Study with a couple of doctors.  One was a physician and the other a vet.  One thing I took away from these interactions was the need to focus on a specific word when you pray.  When my eye was beginning to revert back to its pre-surgery state the word regeneration came to my mind.  Immediately, I began to ask God to regenerate the cells within my eyes, to restore that which was lost.  Suddenly, I noticed a quick improvement.  Although my eye hasn’t been completely restored, when you run out of words to say in the future, narrow in on a key word and pray with faith for a miracle.

by Jay Mankus

To Those Who Believe in Prayer

Earlier in the week, I was reading an online article about the fires in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  The residents of this region within the Great Smokey Mountains were deeply concerned about the fires spreading along what is known as the Chimney Top.  One woman who was interviewed pleaded with Americans of faith, “if anyone who believes in prayer, we need your help.”

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you, John 15:7.

Within 24 hours of this request, the Lord sent a couple of inches of rain to provide water to this drought ravaged state.  Weather forecasters are calling for more rain in the next coming days to stop the spread of any further fires from breaking out.  Doubters and skeptics will likely ignore the obvious, giving chance, good fortune and luck the credit.  Yet, for me, I am putting two things together, desperate hearts plus seeking God leads to answered prayers.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours, Mark 11:24.

When I read the Bible, sometimes the words of Jesus seem too good to be true.  Perhaps, individuals are afraid of being disappointed and left down.  This fear has infected minds leading to a lack of faith that breeds unanswered prayers.  In view of this, its essential to begin to claim God’s promises in prayer.  As for the fire victims of Tennessee and those picking up the pieces from tornadoes in the south, these fellow Americans are in desperate need of prayers.  Therefore, if you believe in the power of prayer, begin now to see what miracle God will do next.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

All These Things

Prior to beginning his ministry on earth, Jesus faced three temptations during a forty day fast.  The first was physical as the Devil attacked the human bodies dependence on food.  According to Matthew 4:4, relying on the spiritual, the Bible, strengthens minds.  Yet, seeking God is much more than overcoming temporary pleasures.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, Matthew 6:33.

Not giving up, Satan fought back, testing Jesus to see if He was willing to use God’s power for his own glory.  The request was not impossible.  Jesus could have called on angels to save His life.  This mental temptation feeds on pride, daring souls to prove the Devil wrong.   Instead of participating in this folly by lowering God’s standards, Jesus quotes scripture to expose the Devil’s cunning plot.  The key to righteousness is remaining humble, wrestling with desires of the sinful nature to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own, Matthew 6:34.

The final obstacle Jesus overcame was devotion, who will you worship?  The Father of Lies continues to make empty promises today, deceiving the uneducated daily.  Knowing and practicing foundational biblical truths is the last step of obedience before you can experience the promise of Matthew 6:33.  Although young men stumble and fall, seeking God and his righteousness must be your top authority.  Until this occurs, all these things are just a fantasy.  However, when you cross this threshold, following in the footsteps of Christ, the Lord will begin to provide in supernatural ways.

by Jay Mankus

Compare and Pride Spreads Fast

For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. – Galatians 6:3

As English classes increase in difficulty, students will eventually be introduced to compare and contrast papers.  The purpose of these essays involves emphasizing the differences of two topics, highlighting dissimilar entities, objects or traits.  This exercise enables individuals to examine, evaluate and develop necessary problem solving skills in life.

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. – Proverbs 11:12

Outside of the classroom, its not uncommon for adults and youth to compare themselves to others.  This often occurs to help build up one’s self-esteem by choosing lesser souls in their comparison.  Subsequently, instead of striving to improve one’s own life, people would rather attack and or tear down others to improve their own situation.  If these comparisons continue, pride will spread like gangrene, poisoning the hearts and minds within society.

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. – Romans 2:1

Christians aren’t exempt from this temptation, with a long history of falling prey to this desire.  The apostle Paul calls out first century believers for passing judgment on the low lifes of their day.  Since no one is perfect, Romans 3:9-12, there aren’t any who are able or worthy to throw the first stone, John 8:10-11.  Therefore, before a spirit of pride runs rampant across America and throughout the world, these comparisons must cease, replaced by humble hearts which seek God first.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Enough Syndrome

Whether its the persistent increase of consumer prices or decline in the purchasing power of the dollar, most families and individuals understand how difficult it is to get ahead in this financial climate.  The majority fluctuate between not enough and just enough, making sacrifices to break even monthly.  Meanwhile, the blessed, talented and wealthy are fortunate to experience a more than enough income, reaching a place of security few can comprehend.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” – Acts 20:35

Prior to the bursting of the dot.com bubble on Wall Street, my wife and I made investments in two of the highest earning mutual funds in the world.  Thinking these were going to continue to rise in value and not wanting to pay the taxes for selling them, we elected to put less money down on our first house instead of cashing out to pay for our home in full.  This decision made sense until 2001 when the market tanked, flushing 60,000 dollars in paper money down the toilet.  Ever since this day, I know the anguish of the “Enough Syndrome,” living under the curse of not enough.

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. – Deuteronomy 8:18

From a spiritual perspective, the Jews were led by God through 3 similar phases in life.  During 400 years of slavery in Egypt, not enough was par for the course, an accepted way of life.  Upon their departure, able to pillage Egypt following the plague of the First Born, Israel spent 40 years in the Wilderness, graduating up to a just enough status as God provided manna, quail and water to meet their daily needs.  Finally, the promise of a land filled with milk and honey was fulfilled, giving birth to a generation who tasted more than enough.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:33-34

Wherever you may be on this financial spectrum, remember the words of Job 1:21, “the Lord gives and takes away.”  Through the good times and the bad, there is a lesson to be learned.  At the end of each day, try to find and reflect on the positive things in your life, Philippians 4:8-9.  No matter how hard it may be, trust in the Lord to help you move from the months of not enough to years of more than enough!

by Jay Mankus

Coping With the Silence of Death

Three weeks ago, Nascar driver Tony Stewart was living his dream, driving and racing on whatever surface he could find.   While competing on a dirt track race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Stewart spun out Kevin Ward going into a corner.  One lap later, Kevin got out of his vehicle, stepped toward on coming traffic and was struck by Tony’s back tire.  Flying several feet in the air backwards, Kevin laid motionless as a hushed crowd waited, not sure if what they saw was real.  This is the silence of death.

One of the biggest mistakes individuals make at a funeral is to try to relate with someone who has just lost a loved one.  Although your words may be eloquent and motivated by compassion, the silence of death is different for each person.  Some never recover, like a widow who dies shortly after their spouse passes away.  Others go through months or years of depression before the sun shines upon their bruised and broken soul.  Regardless of where you fit into this spectrum, the silence of death takes its course, using time, reflection and seeking God to ease the pain.

An unnamed author provides insight to the process of healing.  According to Psalm 93:16-17, divine intervention is sent from heaven to those struggling to carry on with life.  Whether through angels, friends or the power of the Holy Spirit, God reaches down to give footing for those slipping away, Psalm 94:18.  Though anger is a natural emotion connection with death, consolation comes once you let go of “what if, why me and how could you?”  As the silence of death lingers for those still not able to cope with this harsh reality, may joy rain from heaven to touch and encourage your soul, Psalm 94:19.

by Jay Mankus