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Evil Persuasions

As a prerequisite for any discussion about evil in this world, moral evil must be distinguished from physical or natural evil. While natural disasters are often defined as acts of God by insurance companies to avoid going bankrupt, drunk individuals who decide to get behind the wheel of their vehicle exercise freewill. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis are natural phenomena’s that occur throughout the world annually. The aftermath of these natural events may be associated with a curse or some form of punishment. Meanwhile, physical evil exists when human beings find themselves under the influence of a drug, foreign substance or evil spirit.

This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ], Galatians 5:8.

In a first century letter, the apostle Paul suggests that witchcraft infiltrated one particular church, Galatians 3:1. Paul uses the expression of being under a spell cast by a religious sect who were adding and subtracting from the apostles teaching. A modern way of saying this might be something like, “wake up and smell the coffee.” Evil has a way of slowly and subtly changing people. The Psalmist illustrates this in the very first verse, Psalm 1:1. Evil persuasions begin with counsel that deviates from the Bible. For those who are curious like Eve in Genesis 3:1-6, evil has a way of luring you to take stances that you normally wouldn’t. Anyone who continues down this road will eventually participate by joining in evil acts.

Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character. 34 Awake [from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. For some of you have not the knowledge of God [you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God’s presence and all true knowledge of Him]. I say this to your shame, 1 Corinthians 15:33-34.

The Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus’ day understood this principle. Thus, when Jesus began to associate with and reach out to sinners, Matthew 9:10-11, they were leary of Jesus’ intentions. Yet, when you are the light of the world, the greater the darkness provided opportunities to expose evil. However, for everyone else who isn’t the son of God, Paul needed to remind first century Christians of a biblical truth in the passage above. Whatever good intentions that you may have, over time bad character will corrupt godly individuals. Therefore, unless you have access to an accountable group to cover you in prayer, it doesn’t take much for evil persuasions to cause a once mighty saint to slip toward the dark side.

by Jay Mankus

Doubt Kills

An arrival or occurrence of something in overwhelming quantities of water or amounts of debris highlight the magnitude of a tsunami.  This act of God can erase a beach, tropical destination or village in a matter of minutes.  Like a scene out of a chapter from Revelation, the Christmas morning tsunami which struck Thailand in 2004 devastated this region.  In the passage below, the earthly brother of Jesus compares doubt with a spiritual tsunami that can ravage souls.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.

From time to time, I will cross paths with an extremely negative individual.  Fueled by doubt, this unhealthy presence can persuade hopeful hearts to become consumed by stress, worry and unrest.  Unless this invisible force is extinguished, doubt will continue to spread, poisoning souls one group at a time.  While the initial traces of doubt may appear vague, roots of bitterness will rise up from within troubled hearts, brewing until verbal assaults are unleashed in person or via social media.

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen, Matthew 21:21.

Jesus addressed doubt on numerous occasions with his own disciples.  These exchanges reveal his frustration as future leaders of the church became numb to the miracles performed by Jesus daily, John 21:25.  Perhaps, the words in the passage above are a call to snap out of it; wake up to the power of faith.  Using the surrounding mountains as a teachable aid, Jesus exclaims, “see that mountain over there, you can move that which stands in your way through faith.”  Yet, if doubt lingers, any dreams that you have will die.  Therefore, believe, have faith and put your trust in God before doubt kills another victim.

by Jay Mankus

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