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What Kind of Sign are You Holding Up?

A newly married couple once came across a dense fog. As other vehicles slowed to a crawl, the husband attempted to make a pass on a two lane highway. While passing the final car, creating this traffic jam, their car is clipped by a truck heading in the opposite direction. The newlyweds flip end over end, traveling several hundred feet before coming to rest in the parking lot of a local business. Since the fog was so thick, other vehicles continue to pass by, unable to see their totaled vehicle.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, Matthew 5:13-14.

After being knocked out for a few minutes, the man comes to, seeing his wife lying in a pool of bed. Compelled to act quickly before the woman he loves bleeds to death, this man frees himself from the wreck searching for help. To his surprise, this couple landed in a doctor’s parking lot, kicking on the door with his foot fervently with his still wife’s body in his hands. As an elderly man opens the door, the doctor replies, “I’m sorry I stopped practicing years ago.”

Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven, Matthew 5:15-16.

If you are observant, every day you will cross paths with someone in need of help. A co-worker going through a series of trials, a neighbor coping with a death of a relative or friend looking for a source of hope. According to a recent study, 240 million Americans claim to Christians. However, many of these believers have stopped practicing what they believe. Instead, few portray signs of spiritual life like the salt of the earth or light of the world. When the wounded come to your door steps, what kind of sign are you holding up? May this story that I recently heard motivate you to put your faith into action.

by Jay Mankus

Snuffing Out Life

One of the largest and longest snakes known to exist on earth is the anaconda.  Native to the tropics of South America, some of these species have been discovered in the Florida Everglades over the last decade according to Animal Planet.  Similar to a reticulated python, this non-venomous snake uses its teeth to hold on before squeezing its victim to death.  The power of this beast essentially snuffs out the life of its prey through suffocation.

Lucifer or Satan is portrayed as a crafty serpent in Genesis 3:1 and Revelation 12:9.  However, the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, known as the devil, only has one of his demons referenced in the New Testament.  While the term legion is used by John Mark in Mark 5:9 in context with a demon possessed man, the word actually refers to a number, commonly used by Roman military leaders.  This leaves Acts 16:16 as the only place an individual demon is named.  The King James version uses the phrase “spirit of python,” translated into most modern translations as a spirit of divination or foretelling the future.

The thought of money had blinded this girl’s owners from the internal struggle within her soul.  Upon seeing Paul in Acts 16:16-18, she cries out for help, a last ditch effort before having any chances of a spiritual life snuffed out.  Entangled by the grips of a demon, Paul saves her life while endangering his own.  The devil poisoned the minds of these greedy owners, convincing the towns people to place Paul, Silas and Luke in prison.  Immediately following one victory, Acts 16:19-24, Satan tries to squeeze out of the love of Jesus from these men.

Today, the devil is up to his usual tricks, using defeat, failure and trials to suck the life out of individuals.  John 10:10 isn’t just something written over 2,000 years ago that no longer applies.  Rather, every day is a spiritual war, a battle that won’t end until heaven and earth pass away.  Therefore, if you feel the presence of depression, stress or worry begin to wrap around your neck, use prayer to put on the full armor of God, Ephesians 6:13-18.  Fight fire with spiritual fire, 1 Timothy 6:12, to avoid having your life snuffed out prematurely.

by Jay Mankus

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