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So That Hope Survives

Ambition, aspiration, cravings, dreams, longings and yearnings are all associated with hope. When theses desires begin to slip away, individuals have to fight with determination so that hope survives. Whenever your confidence is shaken by defeat, failure or a loss, hope is like a dim light surrounded by darkness, ready to be snuffed out by unforeseen events.

But we belong to the day; therefore, let us be sober and put on the breastplate (corslet) of faith and love and for a helmet the hope of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

In a letter to a community with a troubled pass, Paul reminds this church that Christians are children of the light. Thus, as the Devil continues to bring and drag up skeletons from your past, don’t let doubt creep into your mind. The longer negative thoughts continue to linger, the closer the enemy comes to achieving his goal, John 10:10.

For God has not appointed us to [incur His] wrath [He did not select us to condemn us], but [that we might] obtain [His] salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

The apostle Paul flips the script in the passage above. Instead of always being on defense, Paul takes up the Sword of the Spirit to go on offense, reminding believers of the ultimate prize. God’s end game is salvation, the opportunity to be reunited with Jesus in heaven. Hope is like an exit sign in the distance, the only way to God, John 14:6. When darkness blocks your path from this doorway, hope is what keep souls alive, surviving to live another day.

by Jay Mankus

The Taming of the Cravings

One of William Shakespeare’s well known comedies is the Taming of the Shrew.  Written in the early 1590’s, this play has been adapted numerous times for stage, screen, opera, ballet, and musical theatre.  While this production highlights a bad-tempered and aggressively assertive woman, the Bible speaks of an another beast with a similar reputation.  According to John, this inner demon feeds off of worldly desires.  Fueled by longings, lust and sensual desires, few people have had success in taming these cravings.

Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world, 1 John 2:15-16.

According to Jesus, the eyes serve as the lamp of the human body, Matthew 6:22-24.  If your eyes are good, fixated on Jesus, Hebrews 12:2, spiritual light will guide your steps.  However, if you allow your eyes to wander, take a second glance and begin to stare at unwholesome sights, darkness will enter your body.  This seemingly innocent act starts a chain reaction that awakens fleshly desires.  Those who indulge in masturbation, pornography and or sex outside of marriage corrupts hearts, souls and minds.

The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever, 1 John 2:17.

The only cure known to the cravings of the sinful nature is pursuing God’s will.  In his Sermon of the Mount, Jesus tells his audience where your heart is, your treasure will be also.  Thus, those who appease earthly cravings will be distracted, focused on satisfying temporary pleasures in life.  The only way to tame this spiritual shrew is by setting your heart and mind on things above, Colossians 3:1-4.  Those who learn to clothe themselves with Christ can overcome the demons of your past.  While this is not an easy process, may the Holy Spirit fill you with discipline, insight and wisdom to tame any unholy craving within you.

by Jay Mankus

That Which You Gaze Upon… You Will Become

While listening to talk radio today, I was struck by a caller to the Glenn Beck Show.  Beating around the bush, this man ctonfessed to an addiction to pornography.  During this struggle, one thought kept reverberating, “that which you gaze upon, you will become.”

One of Jesus’ 12 disciples recognized a similar pattern near the end of the first century, 1 John 2:15-17.  Inside of each human being, a hunger exists, searching for objects of desire.  Lusts, longings and pride can shift your focus from where it should be to behind the devil’s door, Ephesians 4:26-27.  In other words, be careful what you wish for.

One of Jesus’ best words of wisdom in his Sermon on the Mount can be found in Matthew 6:19-24.  The Lord knew before creation that which individuals gaze upon, they will become.  The cure to prevent addictions is to begin to store up treasures on earth.  The apostle Paul added to this in Colossians 3:1-4, urging readers to meditate on the Lord day and night.  If bad habits have you staring in the wrong direction, fix your eyes on the author and perfecter of life, Hebrews 12:1-3.

by Jay Mankus

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