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The Force Behind the Darkness

Whether binge watching a drama, scanning social media or checking for the latest news update, I have become numb to seeing death, destruction and violence. While the expression “pushing the envelope” originally comes from the field of aviation, limits continue to be elevated and raised. This concept also applies to programming as the further the envelope is pushed, the force behind darkness on earth comes into focus.

And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die, Genesis 2:15-17.

While the Old Testament is filled with commands, decrees and rules, God’s initial plan for the earth contained only one rule. This boundary set by the Lord put just one thing in the Garden of Eden off limits, the Tree of Knowledge. Adam didn’t have to guess about what to do or not to do. The summary of God’s conversation with Adam is mentioned above. When darkness came to earth in the form of a fallen angel, Adam was right there with Eve, Genesis 3:6. Instead of correcting the deception and lie spread by Lucifer, Adam remained silent, a willing participant in original sin.

And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind, Ephesians 2:1-3.

Although Adam and Eve did not physically die, the spiritual light within their souls was snuffed out. The apostle Paul speaks about their spiritual condition in the passage above. The consequence of their disobedience was the activation of a sinful nature. Instead of listening to God, human beings are now under the control of a demonic presence. Later on in his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul expands upon the force behind this darkness, Ephesians 6:12. While humans can’t see the supernatural realm, there are spiritual forces at work to prevent the light from prevailing.

by Jay Mankus

Above the Treeline

Towering above Delaware’s farmlands and tidal marshes, Mount Ebright stands 442 feet above sea level, a trailer park north of Concord High School.  Void of any real mountains, natives of this state must venture north, south or west to find a place above the tree lines.  Traveling along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park on Sunday, I found myself in God’s country, imaging what it must have been like for Moses to come face to face with the Lord.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, Ephesians 6:12.

While watching a new program on the Travel Channel, Mysteries in National Parks, I was reminded of the invisible realm that exists above the treeline.  According to the apostle Paul, a legion of angels and demons do battle daily, attempting to acquire strongholds.  Beyond the visible trials on earth, territorial wars are waged, seeking to alter the hearts, minds and souls of human beings.  Above the treeline, the devil prowls around like a lion snatching seeds of truth from new converts.

When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path, Matthew 13:19.

The only line of defense involves meditation, prayer and worship.  Thus, as the powers of darkness try to infringe upon church communities, families and institutions, Christians must be armed with the proper weapons to fight back, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  While the world will give credit for these phenomena to aliens, legends or mythical forces, don’t underestimate the influences of the devil.  Rather, put on the armor of God so that when activity above the treeline intensifies you won’t be caught off guard.  Draw strength from your knees, empowering angels above to take back any ground that has been lost.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

3 Against 1 or Three in One

Where I come from, 3 against 1 isn’t a fair fight.  Yet, every morning, millions of Americans leave the safety of their own home to enter the war zone I call life.  Three invisible forces gang up on individuals daily, assaulting their minds, emotions and will.  Enemy #1 is your own flesh, Romans 8:5, implanting within you a spirit of curiosity, swaying your conscious to experiment with the unknown, Genesis 3:5-6.  Public Enemy #2 is this fallen world, 1 Peter 2:11, using a spirit of persuasion to conform your mind toward the excuse, “well, everybody else is doing it!”  Spiritual Enemy #3 is Lucifer, encouraging a spirit of disobedience within young people, Ephesians 2:2, fixing their hearts on earthly treasures, Matthew 6:21-24.

Watching The Sunset

On the other side of this spectrum, lies an invisible fortress built upon the Logos, the written word of God, prayer, fasting and worship.  The Father created this heavenly castle, sending His Son to inform the masses of its existence, John 14:1-4.  This kingdom does not use brute force, peer pressure or schemes to trick its occupants.  Rather, this paradise involves selflessness, servant-hood and sacrifice, Matthew 20:25-28.  The entrance fee is relatively inexpensive; one might say priceless, John 3:5-8.  Yet, this domain thrives on humility, love and obscurity.  There is only one star, one spotlight and one who is worthy to be praised, 1 Chronicles 16:25.

In the end, the choice is yours, to live for today, joining the 3 forces above or live for eternity?  God established free will so that people might choose love over evil and obedience over sin.  Like the line from A League of Their Own, when Gina Davis tells Tom Hanks, her manager, she’s quitting the team before the World Series.  Hanks replies, “If baseball was easy, everyone would play it.  The fact that baseball is hard; that’s what makes it a great game!”  According to Revelation 3:19-20, God created a special door for his kingdom.  The only handle of this door is located on our side.  Thus, God continues to knock on the door of your heart, yet only you can let Him in.  Today, the Spirit of Jesus has been left behind to guide you once you open this door, John 14:16-17.

by Jay Mankus

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