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Remove the Hostility

Aggression, bitterness, malice, and spite are words associated with hostility. As opposing worldviews continue to clash, there is a growing movement to silence certain beliefs, opinions, and social media sites. In recent weeks, democratic, liberal, and progressive leaders have compared their political opponents to terrorists and white supremacists. While newly elected president Joe Biden promised to unite this country by reaching out to those who didn’t vote for him, Biden’s executive orders reveal a different message. Before the United States becomes even further divided, it’s time to remove the hostility toward those who hold opposing views.

For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that [comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever], Romans 8:5-6.

In a first century letter to the Church at Rome, the apostle Paul refers to an internal hostility. Similar to his letter to Galatia in Galatians 5:16-25, Paul reveals the ongoing spiritual battle that exists today within every human being. As individuals begin to feed their internal desires for temporary pleasures, sinful minds become hostile toward God. If this lifestyle is justified or rationalized by those who indulge their flesh, this inward battle is freely expressed to the external world. Instead of listening to the conviction of consciences, carnal minds seek to eliminate God from the equation. If God is removed, individuals can do or say whatever they want.

[That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot. So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him, Romans 8:7-8.

According to the apostle Paul, the only way to remove this hostility is by yielding control over to God. However, when minds become under the influence of addiction to a specific sin, hostility will reign. Thus, the sooner souls begin to take their thought lives captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, spiritual strongholds can be addressed. Like a patient waiting on a transplant list, human minds need the influence of the Holy Spirit to be renewed. Without this spiritual infusion, human minds will struggle to let go of the hostility that exists today. Therefore if you want to be an advocate for change, exchange any hostile feelings with the power of God’s Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

The Key to an Extended Fast

Whenever individuals are inspired or moved to begin a spiritual fast, there is a major obstacle that stands in your way. In response to an empty stomach, the human brain triggers the release of a hormone. This hormone called Ghrelin signals the body to release stomach acids to digest food. When food is not consumed during a fast,  the stomach acids begin to attack the lining of the stomach which results in hunger pains. Thus, ones the ways to mentally overcome this barrier is by meditating on the Bible in place of eating.

This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success, Joshua 1:8.

While a number of congregations begin each January with a church wide fast, bad news can motivate souls to get serious with God by fasting. The context of the passage below begins with news of Israel’s demise. Surviving Jews who had escaped the exile, brought a devastating report on conditions in Jerusalem. As Nehemiah heard that this city was on fire and the walls broken down, weeping triggered a desire to fast and pray for his country. As Joe Biden takes over as president of the United States, now is as good a time as ever to fast and pray for the future of America.

When I heard this, I sat down and wept and mourned for days and fasted and prayed [constantly] before the God of heaven, And I said, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, Who keeps covenant, loving-kindness, and mercy for those who love Him and keep His commandments, Let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to listen to the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You day and night for the Israelites, Your servants, confessing the sins of the Israelites which we have sinned against You. Yes, I and my father’s house have sinned, Nehemiah 1:4-6.

Since fasting for a week or month may not be possible or realistic for some Christians, there is always the Esther Fast, Esther 4:16. This three day fast is based upon achieving a common goal as believers unite to pray for a specific outcome. Although Ghrelin might cause you to become hungry over this 72 hour period, staying focused on prayer typically helps me overcome this physical distraction. If you like music, spending as much time as possible listening to spontaneous worship montages will take your mind off of the physical and direct your concentration toward the supernatural power of fasting and prayer. May this blog inspire you to push your body to the limits so that an extended fast will become a reality in the future.

by Jay Mankus

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