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Does God Know that You Fear the Lord?

As September ends today, October transitions from fall to a month of horror movies. One of my former co-workers tries to watch a scary movie once a day for the entire month. These types of movies are designed to inflict fear, crafted in such a way to scare the hell out of you. While this may be a good way to pass the time, does God know that you fear the Lord?

And Isaac said to Abraham, My father! And he said, Here I am, my son. [Isaac] said, See, here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt sacrifice? Abraham said, My son, [b]God Himself will provide a lamb for the burnt offering. So the two went on together, Genesis 22:7-8.

While children are introduced to Abraham as the guy in that funny song “Father Abraham,” this man of God had his own internal struggles. When placed into an awkward situation, Abraham had a tendency to exaggerate, stretching the truth. In other words, when push came to shove, Abraham lied like a politician on the campaign trail. This sinful pattern went on out for years until God forced Abe to make a change.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there; then he laid the wood in order and [c]bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar on the wood. 10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand and took hold of the knife to slay his son. 11 But the [d]Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, Abraham, Abraham! He answered, Here I am. 12 And He said, Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear and revere God, since you have not held back from Me or begrudged giving Me your son, your only son. 13 Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering and an ascending sacrifice instead of his son! – Genesis 22:9-13

Sometimes God will place you into a situation where you are forced to choose your allegiance. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his one and only son Isaac. Rather than look for a way out, Abraham got up earlier in the morning before the sun rose. Abraham had three days to make a decision if he wanted to go through with this. In the end, Abraham chose to fear the Lord. May this blog challenge you to prove to God that you truly fear Him in October.

by Jay Mankus

Release Me

After Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles are destroyed by alien space craft in the 1996 movie Independence Day, the president, a few close advisers and another family escape on Air Force One.  Like president Bush on 9/11/01, this president, played by Bill Pullman, search for a safe destination to land.  When Judd Hirsch inadvertently interrupts a staff meeting, his beliefs uncover the truth about Area 51, resulting in a visit to this previously unknown bunker under the desert.  Once Will Smith arrives with an alien whose plane crash landed, the president has his first close encounter shown in the clip above.

The term release means to allow or enable someone to escape.  When an individual or something is imprisoned like this alien, their end goal is to be set free from confinement.  However, when you reason with an alien, demon or evil person, you are unleashing supernatural powers.  Whenever a nation makes a peace treaty with a terrorist or the justice system lets a serial criminal out on parole, the same sinful pattern often continues, returning to the scene of the crime.  This is why Jesus modeled praying to his disciples during his 3 year ministry, displaying how prayer can release souls from the schemes of the devil, Matthew 21:21-22.

Time is an enemy for most citizens of the earth.  Sometimes I feel as if I am always behind, trying to catch up on life, leaving little or no time for prayer.  Instead of concentrating on God the Father like Jesus does in the youtube above, I am distracted by my surroundings.  Thus, I spend more time worrying than I do asking God to release me from the burdens on my heart, Matthew 11:28-30.  Its no wonder than many Christian and seekers of God spend so much of their lives in bondage, addicted and paralyzed by sinful habits.  If you tried everything else without any progress, cry out to God today, relying on His power to release you from the temptations holding you down.

by Jay Mankus

Here We Go Again

In a recent blog, I referenced Abram as the mastermind behind the first indecent proposal.  Genesis 12:15 suggests Sarai was taken to be the wife of Pharaoh.  This was such a bad idea that just 4 chapters later in Genesis 16:1-2, Sarai requests a role reversal.  Whenever individuals rely on their own logic instead of God’s guidance, they start sliding down the slippery slope of sin.  So here we go again, committing the same act as before.

One of the things I have learned from being married nearly 20 years is sometimes woman want to verbalize their feelings.  Upon hearing their spouse, men on the other hand, want to fix or problem solve.  Therefore, when Sarai shares her idea with Abram, you can make an assumption that she is simply clearing the air about how she felt when forced to wed Pharaoh.  Instead of further discussing this matter, Abram appears too willing to volunteer, jumping into action.  Like modern premarital arrangements, couples often take the plunge without contemplating how compromise affects the human soul.  God said, “let the two become one” Genesis 2:24, not uniting three with one.  The apostle Paul addresses this in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 in case anyone forgot about Hagar.

God initially made life on earth easy with only one rule to adhere to, Genesis 2:16-17.  However, Eve got curious, Adam fell asleep on the job and neither took responsibility for their decision.  Here we go again as mankind continues to relive the same mistakes of the past.  In the game of life, all God truly desires is obedience, but Satan in Genesis 3:1 plants a seed of doubt within the human mind, “did God really say that?”  Each time you fall short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23, it’s like Adam or Eve in the garden all over again.  Don’t pull a Hagar by quickly giving into temptation.  Rather, watch out for any harmful cycle or sinful pattern that may currently exist.  If you’re not careful, you might be the next one to say, “here we go again!”

by Jay Mankus

Under the Power of the Devil

An addiction starts off as a habit which can lead to an obsession, causing individuals to fall prey to compulsions and cravings.  Such behavior can develop into sinful patterns, tendencies that slowly become the norm for one’s life.  While psychologists may narrow in on a few possibilities, Luke has another explanation in Acts 10:38.  In his day, many souls were clearly under the power of the devil.

Based upon the accounts within the 4 gospels, demons and or spirits can attribute to various medical issues.  Beside the obvious, demon possession, like the case in Matthew 15:22, spirits can influence hearing, movement and speech, Matthew 8:16, Mark 9:17-18 and Luke 13:11.  Although I am not an expert; nor did not spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express, yet I do believe there is a correlation between good health and being under the power of the devil.

Some where between fiction and reality lies the spiritual realm.  While unseen, Ephesians 6:12 mentions a place where dark and supernatural powers exist.  Author Frank Peretti has used a series of novels: This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness and The Oath to illustrate this mystery.  Though fiction, no one has been able to capture this spiritual dimension like Peretti.  Therefore, if you have tried everything in your power to resolve your current problem like the disciples in Matthew 9:19, rely on prayer to free you from the power of the devil, Matthew 9:29.

by Jay Mankus

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