Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: invisible forces

What are You Still Lacking?

If you asked a recent high school graduate the same question after completing a four year degree in college, perspectives would likely change.  Human nature tends to make young people think they are infallible.  When you add knowledge, wisdom and a wealth of information to this equation, some will likely think they know it all, now smarter than their parents.  This is the state we find the rich young ruler in the passage below, only lacking one thing in life.

A certain ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially and morally good], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially and morally] good except God alone, Luke 18:18-19.

Searching for eternal security, this man sought out Jesus, hoping to discover the secret to possessing eternal life.  Immediately, Jesus catches this ruler off guard by demonstrating humility, giving God the credit for his goodness.  From here Jesus turns his attention to God’s standards in the Torah, the first five books in the Old Testament.  Obtaining knowledge of the Bible is one thing, but applying these principles separate average believers from genuine people of faith.  Perhaps, this rich young ruler thought he could enter heaven by being a good person.

You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Honor your father and your mother.’” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these things from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing; sell everything that you have and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk],” Luke 18:20-22.

There are two invisible forces which drag and nudge souls in different directions.  The Holy Spirit convicts hearts and minds, revealing imperfections and shortcomings.  Meanwhile, the sinful nature is more accommodating, making those who stray from God think more highly about themselves than they should.  While the Spirit led the apostle Paul to claim he was the greatest sinner of all in 1 Timothy 1:15, my flesh made me feel better the further I slipped away from God in college.  This spiritual dilemma exists today, compared to a spiritual war in Galatians 5:16-18.  Thus, if you really want to know what are you still lacking, draw close to God and He will make you whole.

by Jay Mankus

 

Advertisements

Spirits that Can Rob Your Speech

The paranormal was always something left for Hollywood, displayed through horror movies when I grew up.  Maybe  I was naive, but I believed the spiritual realm was simply a fantasy, too bizarre to be true.  However, the older I become, I am beginning to open my mind to the reality of a dark, invisible and sinister power working behind the scene to strip individuals of freedom.

A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech, Mark 9:17.

Jesus’ disciples experienced a similar event which challenged their belief system.  After initial success in healing people in need, an evil spirit halted their ability to heal a boy.  Dumbfounded, the disciples appear to have reached out to the Pharisees to get their thoughts.  Finally, Jesus arrives onto the scene to straighten out their misconception, explaining that certain demons require prayer to be cast out.  This was the missing link for this boy to regain his speech, robbed from an early age.

“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us,” Mark 9:22.

Today, more than 70 million people worldwide suffer with stammering or stuttering.  Every day more than three million Americans wake up not knowing if or when they will stutter.  As someone who struggled to express myself until I was healed in college, I understand what I feels like to be robbed of your speech.  Though I’m not a doctor, I believe conditions vary, based on medical issues, a lack of confidence and spirits of doubt.  I’m not sure why God choose to heal me, yet I pray for those who are currently fighting against spirits trying to rob souls of their speech.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Conscience, Guilt and Fear

Regardless of your beliefs, environment and upbringing, three invisible forces guide each soul.  As C.S. Lewis suggests in Mere Christianity, the conscience is a moral compass, providing a sense of right and wrong.  Guilt is a by product of the conscience, like a warning signal that cuts to the heart when you sway off course.  Finally, before there was a reality show, God uses fear to scare people straight off the road which leads to destruction, Matthew 7:13-14.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out, Romans 7:18.

The Law of Human Nature works hand in hand with the conscience, guilt and fear.  Whether human beings like it or not, each have a curious idea within their mind that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.  Nonetheless, C.S. Lewis breaks the bad news in his chapter with the same title, individuals do not behave in this way despite their knowledge of the Law of Nature; breaking it like the apostle Paul’s confession in Romans 7.

Because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him, Mark 6:20.

An example of the conscience, guilt and fear can be found in Mark 6:14-28.  King Herod probably felt it was wrong for him to take his brother’s wife while he was still living.  John the Baptist’s teaching  exposed Herod’s sin, causing his wife to hold a grudge, looking to eliminate this voice of reason.  Meanwhile, despite his wrong actions, John’s words stirred Herod’s soul, instilling a sense of fear within.  Although Herod had John the Baptist murdered to keep an oath made in public, this decision likely haunted the king for the rest of his life.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did,         1 Corinthians 10:6.

Today,  a progressive society is hoping to nullify the conscience, guilt and fear.  Trying to relive the Age of Enlightenment, educators are encouraging children to do what’s right in their own eyes.  This philosophy didn’t work out so well for the Judges of the Old Testament so why listen to this lie now.  Rather, be open to the guiding light of your conscience.  Treat guilt like a step in the wrong direction and continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12.

by Jay Mankus

 

Spirit Led; Not Technology Driven

If any of you are a parent or grand parent, perhaps you shake your head as I do watching teens stare at their game systems and cell phones instead of engage in an actual conversation.  Beside sending your kids outside to play, I’m afraid this generation is being led by the spirit of technology.  Sure, the technology misfits like me need their oldest to get most gadgets around the house to work, but isn’t there something parents can do to develop healthy communication skills?

Before ascending to heaven, Acts 1:9-11, Jesus promised to send a counselor to guide people through life.  While Pentecostals often make the mistake of limiting the Spirit of God to spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, the apostles provide clues to become driven by the Holy Spirit.  Philip kept his head up after hearing the Holy Spirit’s still small voice in Acts 8:29, eventually leading an Egyptian to faith in Christ.  Meanwhile, Paul sensed in his heart to avoid visiting Asia on a missionary journey as God’s Spirit kept him from entering their cities, Acts 16:7.

One of the greatest clues left behind is found in Galatians 5.  Inside each human being, there is a war between good and evil as the acts of the sinful nature, Galatians 5:19-21 battle fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.  As modern technology drives souls to feed their fleshly desires, an invisible forces seeks to intervene, urging individuals to stay on the course of faith.  The key to overcoming today’s technology driven culture is found in Galatians 5:25.  By tuning into God, with eyes and ears alert and open, the apostle Paul suggests you can keep in step with the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, if you emulate this spiritual practice, you will provide a blue print for loved ones to become Spirit led, not technology driven.

by Jay Mankus

3 Against 1 or Three in One

Where I come from, 3 against 1 isn’t a fair fight.  Yet, every morning, millions of Americans leave the safety of their own home to enter the war zone I call life.  Three invisible forces gang up on individuals daily, assaulting their minds, emotions and will.  Enemy #1 is your own flesh, Romans 8:5, implanting within you a spirit of curiosity, swaying your conscious to experiment with the unknown, Genesis 3:5-6.  Public Enemy #2 is this fallen world, 1 Peter 2:11, using a spirit of persuasion to conform your mind toward the excuse, “well, everybody else is doing it!”  Spiritual Enemy #3 is Lucifer, encouraging a spirit of disobedience within young people, Ephesians 2:2, fixing their hearts on earthly treasures, Matthew 6:21-24.

Watching The Sunset

On the other side of this spectrum, lies an invisible fortress built upon the Logos, the written word of God, prayer, fasting and worship.  The Father created this heavenly castle, sending His Son to inform the masses of its existence, John 14:1-4.  This kingdom does not use brute force, peer pressure or schemes to trick its occupants.  Rather, this paradise involves selflessness, servant-hood and sacrifice, Matthew 20:25-28.  The entrance fee is relatively inexpensive; one might say priceless, John 3:5-8.  Yet, this domain thrives on humility, love and obscurity.  There is only one star, one spotlight and one who is worthy to be praised, 1 Chronicles 16:25.

In the end, the choice is yours, to live for today, joining the 3 forces above or live for eternity?  God established free will so that people might choose love over evil and obedience over sin.  Like the line from A League of Their Own, when Gina Davis tells Tom Hanks, her manager, she’s quitting the team before the World Series.  Hanks replies, “If baseball was easy, everyone would play it.  The fact that baseball is hard; that’s what makes it a great game!”  According to Revelation 3:19-20, God created a special door for his kingdom.  The only handle of this door is located on our side.  Thus, God continues to knock on the door of your heart, yet only you can let Him in.  Today, the Spirit of Jesus has been left behind to guide you once you open this door, John 14:16-17.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: