RSS Feed

Tag Archives: a hedge of protection

Concentrate Your Prayers

When individuals participate in a long conversation, you may reach a point where you lose focus. While some topics are so fascinating that discussions will last for hours, others get old fast as you try to slip away to avoid wasting any more time. The talks that I remember the most in life are the ones that I was captivated by someone or something. Your degree of concentration tends to make the difference between a boring and interesting conversation.

Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 19 Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19.

Conversation is the action or power of focusing one’s attention by using a concerted mental effort. When Christians enter into a conversation with God via prayer, there are many distractions that may abruptly end this spiritual connection. The apostle Paul wrote two letters to the Church at Thessalonica. In each letter Paul makes a point to encourage believers to concentrate their prayers.

Furthermore, brethren, do pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may speed on (spread rapidly and run its course) and be glorified (extolled) and triumph, even as [it has done] with you, 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

The first mention refers to developing a prayerful mindset. When prayer become unceasing, a hedge of protection is formed so that you will be prepared for whatever circumstance comes your way. Meanwhile, if you begin to pray for the Great Commission to be fulfilled, Matthew 28:19-20, the Word of the Lord will continue to spread. Despite the rise and fall of emotions in this life, concentrate your prayers so that God will be glorified.

by Jay Mankus

When Will You Find Peace?

On June 7, 1972, the North Vietnamese Army the South Vietnamese town of Trang Bang. One of the tactics used by the North Vietnamese Army was to hide among the villagers because it helped avoid airstrikes and artillery. While there were videos of the beginning of the Vietnam War, one picture shocked the U.S. public about the terror of the Vietnam war. This photo was of a 9 year old girl who soon became known as the “Napalm Girl”.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:6-7.

This one gut-wrenching photograph illustrated the complete opposite of peace. Nearly a half century later, war has taken on new forms. Following protests and rioting in 2020 across the United States, some neighborhoods have become a war zone with violence breaking out nearly every weekend. As concerned citizens come to grips this wave of unrest, many troubled souls are wondering, “when will I find peace?”

Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace (the peace of His kingdom) at all times and in all ways [under all circumstances and conditions, whatever comes]. The Lord [be] with you all, 2 Thessalonians 3:16.

The apostle Paul provides advice for anyone searching for peace in the passages above. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by anxiety and worry, Paul suggests that prayer should be used as a hedge of protection. Whatever you are facing or about to go through, lift up these concerns to God. Meanwhile, give thanks for all circumstances, good, bad or indifferent so that peace of God will begin to provide tranquility and assurance to your soul. As you practice Paul’s advice, may you find the peace of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

A Request for Protection to Save Us from Ourselves

Temptation and trials tend to co-exist, going hand and hand throughout life. Depending upon your own faith journey, most people usually wait until temptation arrives before prayers begin to flow. To the spiritually inexperienced and young, the Lord’s Prayer provides a guide for protection. This simple outline serves as a point of reference when Satan turns up the heat, Job 1:10-12 or when you begin to lose control of your earthly desires.

And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses, Matthew 6:13-15.

The earthly brother of Jesus clears up any confusion over who is to blame for temptation. According to James, God allows temptation to occur, but is not the source of it. When a trial enters your life, Satan attacks your sinful nature using evil to force some sort of compromise. When your body becomes weak and vulnerable, this is where prayer requests for protection are essential. Job prepared for his own trials by using prayer to establish a hedge of protection to avoid self-destruction from sinful desires.

Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. 14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death, James 1:13-15.

According to James, enticement, lust and passions dictate what your spiritual pulses will is. While wondering thoughts are the root of this spiritual problem, acting upon these is when sin is conceived. Thus, before you self destruct by allowing an addiction or bad habit rule your life, lean on prayer to turn back evil. The moment you develop this spiritual discipline, prayer can save you from yourself when temptation begins.

by Jay Mankus

Lairs of Satan

“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead, Revelation 3:1.

Regardless of the subject or topic, there will always be extremes on either side of the issue.  For example, denominations vary on the theological role the Devil, Lucifer and Satan play on this life.  Charismatic churches encourage prayer which serves as a hedge of protection against demonic activity.  Meanwhile, moderate mainline churches do not emphasize spiritual warfare, speaking of Satan in symbolic terms and theory.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns,” Matthew 16:23.

During the first century, Jesus wasn’t afraid to address controversial topics.  While addressing his disciples in private, Jesus exposes mindsets of the Devil.  Similar to the speel dished out to Eve that convinced her to eat forbidden fruit, Satan attempts to take human minds off of God’s concerns.  This is done through the temptation of instant gratification.  Apparently, Peter fell prey to this trap sent from Satan’s lair to his mind by a demon.

I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you, Revelation 3:9.

In the book of Revelation, John writes sevens letters to churches chosen by the Holy Spirit.  John does not sugar coat the spiritual condition of these congregations.  One is described as being dead, another lukewarm and one with segments of Satan sitting inside the pews.  If every city has a safe and dangerous section of town, why is it so hard to imagine that the same concept exists in the spiritual realm.  As the moral fabric of America continues to crumble, perhaps there are lairs of Satan entrapping souls through an addiction to sin.  Unless these dominions of darkness are uncovered with fasting and prayer, demonic powers will continue to reign.  May the Holy Spirit open our eyes and inspire more people to put on the armor of God daily, Ephesians 6:10-20.

by Jay Mankus

Awakening Demons

The Bible suggests that demons are territorial.  Yet, there are passages that detail Satan roaming the earth, seeking to expand his control.  This is accomplished by exploiting weakness to influence, poison and seduce minds through a series of subtle compromises.  If anyone wanders off the narrow path described in Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, you might just awaken a demon or demons.

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order, Matthew 12:43-44.”

The most common example of awakening demons occurs to people who have gone through some sort of rehabilitation.  Those recovering from addiction are at the greatest risk.  Jesus refers to an individual in the passage above who is on the right track, healed from their condition.  Unfortunately, at some point this person reverts back to their prior behavior, opening the door for demons to return.  In this scenario, additional demons are awakened to torment this soul.

“Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation, Matthew 12:45.”

In this day and age, the byproducts of demons are often felt but not seen.  This technicality causes many to leave the notion of demons to the world of fiction.  This lack of belief allows demonic powers to spread.  Yet, the moment anyone begins to threaten their domain, its like accidentally stepping on a bee hive.  If you have experienced some kind of bizarre attack which defies logic, perhaps you have just awakened demons.  Don’t go into this battle alone.  Rather, find a group of saints to form a hedge of protection with prayer.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The Rise of the Sons of Ishmael

This summer has seen an increase in acts of terror across the country and throughout the world.  Before the shock of one tragedy sets in, another takes its place, taking the lives of innocent children, men and women.  Cable news experts on terrorism tend to blame the overflow of refuges from Syria taking Jihad into other foreign countries in the name of Isis.  However, the Bible suggests the root of this axis of evil is the rise of the sons of Ishmael.

The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery, Genesis 16:11.

Rarely, does one selfish act of lust result in long lasting consequences.  Yet, when Sarah refused to believe that she would be the grandmother of Israel, panic set in, allowing her husband to have a one night stand with a concubine.  Subsequently, Hagar becomes pregnant, conceives and gives birth to Ishmael, the father of all Arab nations.  This opened the door for the sons of Israel to be haunted and hunted by the descendants of Ishmael.  This was the day that terrorism was born.

He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers,” Genesis 16:12.

The events of today are merely the fulfillment of this prophecy made by an angel of the Lord.  The Bible does not say or suggest that Sarah could have reversed this curse upon the Jews.  Rather, this passage is a painful reminder of how one careless act can impact an entire generation of citizens.  In view of this upsetting news, one of the best things you can do is pray for God’s mercy.  Although everyone will eventually die, prayers for safety can serve as a hedge of protection as the sons of Ishmael continue to rise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Another Reason to Pray

In this age of chaos, parents have loads to worry about.  However, as priorities distract many from taking time to pray, minds can race out of control.  Thus, when the temptations of life prey upon children, asking God for a hedge of protection is another reason to pray.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, Philippians 4:6.

A few years ago I began to become fed up with the mediocre life I was living.  In response I started to keep a prayer journal writing down my thoughts and concerns.  Although this may not work for everyone, if I don’t write prayers down my mind wanders, having a hard time concentrating.  In this past week, I have begun to see the fruits of answered prayer.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

One of the common phrases I jot down daily is hoping my children reach their full potential.  While the context changes weekly, my oldest son’s recent success can only be described as an answer to prayer.  I didn’t ask for a specific outcome, yet God allowed James to become an individual state champion in pole vault as well as helping his team win a state title.  Life goes on from here, but I will use this miracle as another reason to pray.

by Jay Mankus

Seducing the Unstable

Fluctuating, volatile and unpredictable are terms synonymous with unstable.  This character flaw can cause individuals to be blown and tossed by winds of change.  When you throw in an invisible force luring souls with temporary pleasures, the stage is set for seducing the unstable.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

A pawn of Satan in the past, Peter is possibly referring to his own seduction.  Prior to Jesus’ resurrection, his faith was weak despite witnessing countless miracles.  Reflecting upon his previous mistakes, Peter appears to have been careless, unprepared for the Devil’s daily attacks.  This lack of insight influenced Peter to deny Jesus publicly three times.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings, 1 Peter 5:9.

Now older and wiser, Peter leaves behind a game plan to avoid falling into this trap.  Although not mentioned, using prayer as a hedge of protection provides individuals with a barrier of resistance.  Thus, if you feel like you’re starting to teeter in the wrong direction, cry out to the Lord Jesus so that you will be spared from Satan’s seduction.

by Jay Mankus

Dropping Anchor to Pray

During a trip to Rome, the apostle Paul’s ship got caught in a northeaster, sending violent waves that crashed against his boat for three days.  Fearful of nearby rocks, the crew dropped anchor upon the sandbar beneath them.  As 276 people waited in the dark, each began to pray for daylight to come quickly.  In the end, this decision to drop anchor kept everyone on board safe.

Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight, Acts 27:29.

Its uncanny how people tend to wait until the last second to pray.  Instead of thanking God for the little things in life, God has become like Monopoly’s Get out of Jail Free Card.  Subsequently, the Master of the Universe is a crutch people only use when they are in trouble.  When the good times roll, complacency makes the average person think its there doing, not a blessing from God.  Thus, this cycle continues today, using prayer as a last resort.

Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Perhaps, the apostle Paul also became fed up with this mentality during his life.  In his first of two letters to the church of Thessalonica, Paul urges believers to pray without ceasing.  Whether you are sitting, traveling or walking, prayer is a powerful weapon if relied upon.  Dropping anchor to pray shouldn’t be saved for emergencies.  Rather, prayer provides a covering, a hedge of protection against demonic attacks.  Therefore, in good, bad or indifferent times in life, don’t forget to drop anchor to pray.

by Jay Mankus

 

Earnest Prayers

Grave, serious and solemn describe the emotions connected to the term earnest.  Tragic events like the San Bernardino terrorist attack on a company Christmas party sent shock waves across the United States last week.  Like the nation of France following their own recent encounter, the news of death tends to bring people to their knees.

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him, Acts 12:5.

Although less and less people annually consider themselves to be born again Christians, crying out to God is like a natural response in the face of desperation.  Unfortunately, earnest prayers usually arrive after disaster occurs.  Thus, for God to answer most prayers miracles are necessary or else people will go home disappointed and disenfranchised.  This wasn’t always the case, especially during the first century.

When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, “Peter is at the door!”  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, “It must be his angel,” Acts 12:14-15.

Persecution was a way of life for early Christian as many leaders were martyred for their faith.  Hopeful that Peter didn’t face the same fate of James of Zebedee in Acts 12:2, a spirit of earnest prayer spread.  This sober mood spawned an angel into action.  The ultimate goal of any prayer to receive the answer that you’re hoping for.  However, sometimes God answers quicker than you expect.  Thus, before the morning sunrise, Peter was set free, arriving at their front door.  Initially shocked like a dream too good to be true, this earnest prayer was blessed immediately.  In view of this account, be proactive to form a hedge of protection as you participate in a modern example of earnest prayer.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: