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Tag Archives: set free

When Sanity is Restored

The Bible’s authors have a unique way of expressing individuals who make poor decisions.  A common way to explain this behavior is being out of your mind.  Missteps usually begin with momentary lapses in judgement.  When a pattern forms, unsettled minds take souls further away from God than they ever expected or intended.  Anyone who goes off the deep end is often labeled insane.

Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws. Daniel 4:33.

One of the gospel authors blames insanity on demons, Mark 5:1-20.  One man’s condition had gotten so bad that he withdrew to catacombs, living in an underground cemetery.  Jesus refers to his condition as being under the influence of an unclean spirit.  A legion of demons possessed this man, making sanity impossible under his current state.  Yet, Jesus diagnosed this man’s spiritual condition by relying on the Holy Spirit.  After confronting one dominant being, this man was set free.

Now at the same time my reason returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor were returned to me, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was re-established in my kingdom, and still more greatness [than before] was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and faithful and His ways are just, and He is able to humiliate and humble those who walk in [self-centered, self-righteous] pridem,” Daniel 4:36-37.

Another disciple refers to a similar account or perhaps the same event.  This time the man once possessed is described as being in his right mind.  This is where sanity is restored as individuals can once again follow and obey their conscience.  The apostle Paul stresses the need to take thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Make sure this spiritual discipline is exercised so that if you are on the verge of giving into temptation, sanity will prevail.

by Jay Mankus

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Brain Washed, Deceived or Set Free?

When I was in high school, theology was not something I addressed with people from different religious backgrounds.  Thus, I hung out in the Mormon Church playing volleyball, went to a Methodist youth group and was a member of a Roman Catholic church.  Unfortunately, this atmosphere changed as I entered college.  Religious leaders often went out of their way exposing the flaws and shortcomings of each faith.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15.

This climate leads to one of three responses.  Those who change their beliefs are either brain washed, deceived by false teachers or set free.  This commonly held mindset ended several relationships I had with individuals from different faiths.  On one occasion, I discovered I was placed on the do not talk to list by one cult, afraid I might convince members to leave this church.  In a quest to prove whose God is true, division often ruins friendships.

Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander, 1 Peter 3:16.

I’m assuming the context of the 2 passages above refer to a similar situation.  Peter understood that when you are debating or discussing differences in religions that you must be respectful.  Any type of arrogance, pride or smugness will offend those you are trying to convince to come over to your side of an issue.  Perhaps, individuals should follow in the footsteps of God who offers free will, not forcing anyone to believe.  Regardless of how passionate you may be, remember to talk to others who you disagree with gentleness and respect.  This honors the Lord and helps others keep an open mind in the future.

by Jay Mankus

 

My Hidden Faults

Behind the facade, mirage and show played out in real life, lies imperfections tainted by sin.  In the emergency room on Monday night, I was confronted by images of reality television.  In fact, I haven’t scene this much diversity since I went to traffic court in Ohio following a head on collision in college.  To my surprise, 3 Amish teenagers were arrested for driving their buggy’s while intoxicated after crashing into a neighbors yard.  All you have to do is spend 1 day in the court and emergency rooms to see faults that were once hidden now out in the open for all to see.

I guess you can say I am not the most patient person in the world as demonstrated by my lead foot driving.  However, my patience was put to the test last night as I felt like a cast member on the Jerry Springer show.  I was surrounded by a woman involved in a domestic violence dispute and a boy who crashed his brother’s car driving without a license or insurance.  Between complaining, distress and periodical groans, I felt like saying, “shut up and suck it up!”  Common sense kept me from speaking my mind, but my heart was convicted by my inability to handle this trial with maturity.

Instead of using my accident to be a loving example of Christ, I turned into Oscar the Grouch.  Perhaps, I should have ate a Snickers Bar.  When push comes to shove, character rises to the surface and for me, I still have a long way to go.  This crisis opened a fresh can of worms, exposing my hidden faults of impatience and selfishness.  In the future, I must live out Psalm 19:13, so that I will flee from willful sins that can separate you from God.  May the promise of James 5:16  set me free from my once hidden faults.

by Jay Mankus

Just Run Away

In the film Forrest Gump, Jenny’s advice for her friend remains constant throughout, “whenever you find yourself in trouble Forrest, just run away as fast as you can.”  As for Jenny, this was similar to her childhood prayer, “please God, make me a bird so that I can fly far, far away.”  Initially, God answered her prayer, being set free from the sexual abuse of her father as the state gave her grandmother guardian status.  However, there are certain things like Soul Spirit hurts which you can’t run from as memories follow you wherever you go.

Meanwhile, Forrest Gump found safety, success and solitude from physically running.  Fleeing from bullies, Forrest realized that he could outran people riding bikes, especially through grassy areas.  Once safe from harm, Forrest fell in love with running, using it as his main mode of transportation.  This passion led to a college scholarship, success in the military and solitude when he struggled to find meaning in life.  Thus, Jenny’s advice worked much better for Forrest than for her, becoming the motto for his life.

In the spiritual world, fleeing from the devil is great advice, demonstrated by Jesus in Matthew 4:10.  The apostle Paul added to this concept, referring to running away from a desire to do things in secret, at night when the mind thinks God can’t see you, Romans 12:11-14.  The most vocal of the 12 disciples added his own 2 cents as well, recognizing the power of the devil and the need to just run away, 1 Peter 5:8-9.  Finally, Jesus’ earthly brother provides one last reminder with a promise, “if you submit yourself to God, the devil with flee,” James 4:7.  Don’t just run away like Jenny; rather run into the loving arms of God the Father who is waiting for all prodigals to come home, Luke 15:20.

by Jay Mankus

The First Game of Crying Uncle

The expression of crying uncle appears to have some ties to the Roman Empire.  During the first through third centuries, when a child was bullied by a stronger individual, they were coerced to use the Latin term Patrue.  Once spoken, meaning uncle, the dominant figure would release or set free the person they had cornered.

Today, when an older sibling catches up to a faster and younger sister or brother, either holding onto or sitting on them, a power trip rushes through their soul.  As a result, the elder statesman in the house usually seeks total submission before letting go or getting up.  Like a bribe, torture continues until a person finally gives in, “crying uncle,” at the top of their lungs.

While researching this topic, I stumbled across a biblical account that might of inspired the first game of crying uncle.  According to Genesis 32:24-26, Jacob participates in a wrestling match which lasts all night long, something the founders of W.W.E. would be proud of.  Holding on for dear life, Jacob refuses to let go until this stranger blesses him.  Unbeknownst to Jacob, his opponent is God himself, Genesis 32:27-30.  Although he does not force God to say uncle, Jacob follows a Jesus like approach to acquiring what he desires, Matthew 7:7-11.

The next time you feel caught, captured or cornered by the devil, try to emulate Jesus’ model for prayer.  Don’t forget to ask God specifically, crying uncle, confessing that you can’t make it in life on your own strength.  If nothing happens right away, keep on seeking God for advice, answers and direction.  Finally, like Jacob, hold on to God, by knocking on heaven’s door until you receive the blessings of God!

by Jay Mankus

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