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Beyond Doubt

Self-doubt often comes from a lack of experience as individuals face new challenges in life. When confronted with any task no matter how confident that you may be in a specific field, the fear of failure may enter your mind. However, some people encounter extremely high levels of doubt to the point where it becomes debilitating. This is the mental condition that the Devil wants to keep you in, frightened by lingering thoughts of doubt.

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, Romans 8:38.

One chapter earlier, the apostle Paul confesses an inability to control his own body, Romans 7:16-18. Despite possessing good intentions, Paul found himself held captive by sin, unable to do what was good and right in God’s eyes. Instead of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Paul’s faith was inoperable, caving to and indulging his sinful nature daily. So what happened in one chapter? What sparked Paul’s transformation from addiction to living a spirit filled life?

Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, Romans 8:39.

If you glance back at the beginning of Romans 8, Paul’s mind was in the wrong place. As soon as Paul began to focus on eternal treasures by forgoing temporary pleasures, doubt began to disappear. When Christians begin to operate in the supernatural realm, fixated on producing spiritual fruit, Galatians 5:22-23, a hunger and thirst for righteousness is conceived. This is the mindset which inspired Paul to write beyond a doubt, “nothing can separate us from the love of God.” May this blog encourage you to pursue a similar mindset so that you can begin to live beyond doubt.

by Jay Mankus

The Gravational Pull Between Good and Evil

The invisible force that causes massive objects to pull other objects toward them is known as a gravitational pull.  When a professional athlete jumps into the air, the earth’s gravitational pull forces them back to the ground.  Early theologians developed the concept of dualism to help explain a similar pull between good and evil.  Dualism believes there are two independent powers behind everything that happens, one good and the other bad.  In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis states that the universe is the battlefield in which this endless war is fought.

But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the [sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts], Galatians 5:16.

Prior to introducing the concept of the armor of God to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes the gravitational pull between good and evil.  Unlike dualism, these invisible forces are clearly defined.  In the right corner, the Holy Spirit is a guiding light, directing, prompting and urging souls to choose obedience in accordance with biblical law.  Meanwhile, the sinful nature opposes God’s Spirit, using impulses, lust and temporary pleasures to entice individuals to break God’s law.  Angels and demons fight for souls in the spiritual realm, pulling hearts and minds in different directions.

For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do, Galatians 5:17.

One of the weapons the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, uses is misinformation.  Going back to the Garden of Eden, Lucifer planted doubt within the mind of Eve by suggesting, “did God really say that?”  Replacing truth with justification and rationalization, the gravitational pull of sin is hard to resist, James 1:13-15.  Meanwhile, the Lord uses confession, James 5:16, pouring out grace and mercy upon willing participants to pull people back into fellowship with God.  In view of this wrestling match between good and evil, keep in step with the Holy Spirit so that your eternal destination will be secured, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

When Fear Causes Your Dreams to Begin to Sink

When you are young, minds aren’t afraid to dream big.  Summit Ministries refers to this as BHAG’s, short for big hairy audacious goals.  Innocent minds don’t think of common obstacles that stand in the way of adults.  Rather, a child like faith exists which sets the stage for great things in the future.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus, Matthew 14:27-29.

Unfortunately, at some point in life, doubt creeps into confident individuals.  Such is the case of Peter, a bold disciple not afraid to take chances.  Thus, when Jesus asked him to join him on the water, Peter jumped at this opportunity.  Initially, Peter was defying gravity as he was actually walking on water just like Jesus.  Then, a gust of wind caught Peter by surprise.  This act of nature led to a chain of events as fear caused Peter to begin to sink into the middle of the lake.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:30-31

This story is symbolic of people who allow fear to interfere with accomplishing their dreams in life.  Determination, focus and vision enable individuals to get off to a good start in life.  Yet, at some point we take our eyes off of Jesus.  The moment this occurs people begin to think about the reasons why you can’t fulfills dreams and goals.  The next time this doubt creeps into your mind, shift your attention toward the power of God so that fear doesn’t cause your dreams to sink.

by Jay Mankus

When Your Mind Get’s in the Way

Depending upon how you were raised, parents give advice, guidance and warnings as you grow up.  Some of the common phrases of my generation were “think before you speak, open mouth insert foot” and simply “think.”  These words suggest that sometimes your mind gets in the way.

But the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people! They’re too strong for us!”  – Numbers 13:31

In the Old Testament, God had promised Israel a new land flowing with milk and honey.  Before entering this place, Moses sent out a team to explore this region.  Known as the 12 Spies, only two brought back a positive report.  The other ten were misled by minds gripped with fear.  This first glance underestimated the power of God as their minds got in the way.

 Caleb told the people to be quiet and listen to Moses. Caleb said, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it,” Numbers 13:30.

In the end, the voices of Caleb and Joshua were silenced by the majority.  However, if you want to overcome doubt, leaders must raise their voices to convince the feeble and weak.  The next time you hear a crowd minimizing the power of God, step out in faith to persuade the masses.  If you don’t the human mind will get in the way, leaving you outside of the blessings God has in store for you.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

Prepared for the Anointing?

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In the film Facing the Giants, the head football coach at Shiloh High accidently walks by a private meeting to oust him as coach.  Devastated by this revelation, a conversation with the janitor the next day changes his perspective.  This wise man recalls a parable of farmers waiting for rain to plant crops.  Only one man plowed his fields in expectation of God’s answer to prayers for water.  The janitor asked this coach at the end of his story, which one are you?

But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him, 1 John 2:27.

Author Gary Smalley wrote a book entitled the Blessing when I was in college.  A friend suggested that I should read this before getting married.  During a marriage encounter seminar that Leanne and I attended while engaged, this resource was confirmed as a must read.  The book examines the Old Testament practice of Jewish fathers passing on a blessing to their oldest son.  However, in the case of Isaac and Jacob, the youngest deceives his brother to receive this special anointing.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,” Luke 4:18.

Due to a breakdown in the American family, absentee fathers aren’t around to bless, develop and raise their own children.  Meanwhile, the passing of the torch from one generation to the next is being dropped.  Subsequently, young men are being robbed of this blessing.  These circumstances have created a mood where doubt reigns.  Until this atmosphere changes, no one is preparing for the anointing of God due to a lack of hope and faith.  May divine intervention reverse this trend.

by Jay Mankus

 

Faking Holiness

If your life was placed on a chart or graph, there would be peaks and valleys with plateaus somewhere in between.  High points mark periods of success and victories within life.  The low areas represent failures where doubt and disappointment often attack your soul.  Unfortunately, human nature causes many to assign blame for their valleys rather than finding fault from within.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8.

Since salaries and wages are normally based upon the services or work provided, its easy to say, “look what I did.”  Yet, the apostle Paul reminds individuals that salvation is not based upon human efforts.  Rather, God’s grace opens the door to eternity, providing access to the undeserving like me.  Sure, I can put on a good face, pretending to be a godly Christian.  Nonetheless, I find myself going through the motions way too often, lukewarm and faking holiness.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Romans 5:8.

During my recent Daniel Fast, conviction of this fact has consumed me.  Despite my flaws, I am thankful for the passage above.  Jesus died for imperfect people like me, a demonstration of God’s agape love.  May those of you who reach a similar low point embrace biblical promises by accepting God’s free gift by faith.  Don’t pretend to have things all together.  Rather, confess your sins and pray for healing so that reconciliation will begin.

by Jay Mankus

Consequences of Unbelief

In my days as a coach and teacher, unbelief is like an invisible cloud that stalls out and begins to affect and influence minds.  This negative vibe spreads through doubt, fear and a lack of confidence.  After the main contributor is eliminated or removed, those remaining have a hard time of being convinced that success and victory is attainable.

So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief, Hebrews 3:19.

According to the author of Hebrews, this is what Moses faced as a growing number of Israelites took their eyes off of God on the way to receive the Promised Land.  Thus, one of the consequences of unbelief is rebellion.  Apparently, several individuals wanted to return to Egypt, afraid they would die in the wilderness.  This wave of emotions prevented an older generation from being able to enter and experience God’s promised land.

“ ’If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes,” Mark 9:23.

Today, one of the greatest consequences of unbelief is unanswered prayers and health conditions that do not improve.  Even trained disciples succumb to the power of unbelief after an unsuccessful attempt of casting out an evil spirit.  For most people, each day is like a test, waiting to see if God improves their situation.  The longer one goes without any tangible signs of improvement, the greater unbelief becomes.  When you reach this point, hold on to the promise of Mark 9:23, so that belief will make that which was once impossible possible.

by Jay Mankus

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