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When Voices of Doubt Wear You Down

Over the past month, I wanted to refresh my mind of the spiritual realm. I decided to reread Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti, opening my mind to what is going on behind the scenes spiritually. Peretti’s style of writing does a good job of illustrating how demons like doubt can wear individuals down. Comparing evil spirits to pests that feed on negativity, Christians that don’t take the spiritual dimension seriously will be overwhelmed as spiritual warfare intensifies.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind, James 1:6.

Jesus’ earthly brother compares doubt to crashing waves upon a shoreline. As someone who loves going to the beach, waves are relentless. While tides rise and fall, waves keep coming. While the size of waves varies depending upon the weather, waves don’t call time out, pause or take time off. Rather, one after another, waves weaken body surfers and boogie boarders with each crashing blow. James’ analogy doesn’t consider voices of doubt.

For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides], James 1:7-8.

The passage above transitions from physical waves to waves of emotions. Whenever confidence is invaded by doubt, hesitation is conceived. Instead of building confidence, doubt erodes human minds spiritually like crashing waves on sandy beaches. While salt water exposes hidden debris, doubt makes minds unstable. As soon as thoughts begin to slip, voices of doubt will wear you down. As this enfolds, make sure you follow the apostle’s Paul advice in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 to take captive your thought life when doubt tries to invade your soul.

by Jay Mankus

The Devil and Karl Marx

A decade before writing his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx wrote the following in a 1837 poem. “Thus Heaven I’ve forfeited, I know it full well. My soul, once true to God, is chosen for Hell.” Based upon Marx’s own words, the evils wrought by his oppressive ideology and theory caused Karl to part ways with God. When you add up all of the total carnage, Marx’s Communism has led to the deaths of over 100 million souls. Perhaps, some where along the way, Karl teamed up with the Father of Lies.

You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false, John 8:44.

While studying the past, professor Paul Kengor was inspired to craft The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism’s Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration. Michael Knowles writes in the foreword “few others writing today who use terms such as collectivism and individualism only take this debate so far. Ultimately the fight comes down to spiritual warfare: good versus evil.” Kengor’s book details the clash of the modern, devilish forces of socialism and communism. You won’t get this in public or higher education.

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, Ephesians 6:10-12.

During the first century, the apostle Paul’s eyes were opened to the spiritual realm, recognizing how political and spiritual leaders became pawns of the Devil. If you don’t engage the enemy, spiritual footholds will be seized, Ephesians 4:26-27. Instead of being a helpless spectator, watching your city, state, and country fall apart, put on the full armor of God. When you’re unsure of your next move, pray in the Spirit so that your prayers will provide a hedge of protection for spiritual warriors on the front lines. The future of America is on the line Tuesday, November 3rd. Your vote may be the difference from keeping the Devil and Marxism from taking over.

by Jay Mankus

Unguarded

Confidence, egos and pride tend to convince individuals that they can handle anything that life throws their way.  With success, this mindset gradually leads people to become self-reliant, trusting in their own strength and abilities.  And yet, these factors create the perfect storm, setting the stage for a demonic attack on the unguarded.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

The human mind is an accessory, a willing accomplice.  As the mind is a giant sponge, able to record and store millions of pieces of information throughout your life.  Some of this content triggers fond memories of former relationships, places or things.  Meanwhile, other events can expose or uncover secret scars, a painful remainder of nightmares from your past.  Subsequently, anyone who starts a day without the covering of prayer or a support system is vulnerable to invisible attacks known as spiritual warfare.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-27.

After a great first month of 2016, I’ve found myself falling back into careless patterns.  Any type of apathetic manner allows on open door for the Devil to come back into and torment your life.  This is why addiction, bad habits and unguided souls experience so much pain and remorse.  If you find yourself in this precarious situation, going through life unguarded, its time to create a war room, a place of prayer to prepare you for Satan’s schemes.  Like the old American Express Ad campaign, don’t leave home without it.

by Jay Mankus

 

Terminators of the Faith

The decade of the 1980’s gave birth to an unusual phenomena, the desire to embrace bad boys.  Thus, as The Terminator series was introduced in 1984 starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, for many people fantasy turned into reality.  Whether it is a coincidence or not, three years later the Jamaican reggae group Inner Circle first released Bad Boys on their One Way album.  Two years later this song was re-released on Identified which was then adopted as the theme song of the show Cops.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them, 1 John 2:15.

In a chapter dedicated to explaining the concept of spiritual warfare, Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul compares Satan to a skilled warrior who shoots flaming arrows at his enemies.  If the shield of faith is not used to defend yourself, battles will be lost.  Earlier in his teaching, Paul refers to bringing a knife to a gun fight so to speak in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4.  Essentially, if you don’t arm yourself with the right spiritual weapons, you will be unable to overcome the terminators of the faith.

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world, 1 John 2:16.

The Christian group Tribe of Dan illustrates this in their song The Beast of Lust.  Everyone has a weakness, vulnerable to specific temptations.  Once hooked, these bad habits turn into addiction, causing wondering eyes to crave for more and more.  When you reach the point of no return, the pride of life takes over, telling you, “everything is alright or I can handle this.”  If intervention does not occur, this downward spiral leads to what C.S. Lewis calls diabolical pride, where you are right and everyone else is wrong.  If you find yourself trapped, held captive by these terminators of the faith, may the Holy Spirit show you the way out of your predicament, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Check Mate

I always was more of a checkers kind of guy, but chess was something I attempted on my computer.  As a novice and mere amateur, I often made illegal moves, getting beeped at by the game, reset to my initial position.  Losing most of the times, I approved to the point of being respectable.  However, from a coaching perspective, I have embraced the chess like concept of putting your pieces, (players) in the right position to win or force an opponent to say, “check mate.”

Psalm 149:4 unlocks a secret to success in life.   According to the Psalmist, God delights in his people.  In fact, the Lord crowns those who are humble with salvation.  Instead of boasting or trash talking in the middle of a contest, God wants individuals to just play the game of life, whether you win or lose.  While the devil may back you into a corner or take out several of your pawns, God has the final move.  Just when Lucifer thought he was about to taste victory, Jesus rose from the grave, Colossians 2:13-15, pronouncing “Check Mate” on his former angel.

Beyond this world lies a spiritual dimension where angels and demons perform a battle for eternity.  Prayer fuels angelic beings while idleness empowers satanic strongholds.  This chess match will continue until Jesus returns, Matthew 24:42-44 or you breathe your last breath.  Despite how bad your board looks, fight until the very end, 1 Timothy 6:12.  Place your trust in the promise of Psalm 149:4, crowned by the Lord with eternal life.

by Jay Mankus

A Solution for Pollution

Prior to the 1970’s, rivers and streams in the United States were treated like garbage disposals, passing on your trash to someone else down stream.  After the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught on fire for the 5th time, the modern environmental movement was born.  These pioneers inspired the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

From a societal point of view, individuals have been crashing and burning for centuries.  As a result, daily doses of anger, frustration and lashing out have gone airborne, leading to a different type of pollution.  Commencing with curiosity and temptation in the Garden of Eden, sin has entered this world.  Signs of this toxic behavior have corrupted children, scarred adults and wounded innocent bystanders.

If a government can establishment an agency to nurture God’s creation, why can’t the church develop a solution to cure polluted souls?  At this moment in time, planet earth is in dire need of ambassadors, representing Christ in a dark and desolate culture.  One of the first steps is to recognize the source of soul pollution, Romans 3:23.  The next logical process requires a check up visit to see the Doctor of Life, receiving the antidote for this disease, John 3:16-17.  Finally, the best solution for eliminating soul pollution is to embrace our own weaknesses, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, trusting that Christ will incinerate our lusts, inappropriate passions and self-seeking desires.  Join me in this battle of flesh and blood, Ephesians 6:10-12.

by Jay Mankus

Oppression vs. Possession

One of the major theological debates in churches today revolve around the presence of demons within believers.  The Bible reveals that those who are filled with the Holy Spirit can not become possessed by a demon or foreign spirit, Romans 8:9-15.  Yet, skeptics make a valid argument when they ask, “if this is true, how do you explain the sin and violent acts committed by Christians?”

To honestly address this question, the concept of spiritual oppression arises.  The context of oppression refers to situations when a follower of Jesus is affected or influenced by an undetected force.  Matthew 16:23 is one of the best examples of oppression as Peter’s mind becomes poisoned by a worldly mindset.  Later on in Acts 5:1-11, Peter believed Satan could enter someone’s heart.  If these things happened to leaders, how often does this occur within an average church goer?

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Jesus uses the parable of weeds to further the notion of oppression.  Matthew 13:24-26 illustrates how Satan can plant seeds while the church is sleeping.  This likely explains why the apostle Paul is so adamant about your thought life.  According to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Paul urges fellow believers to take their thoughts captive, making each idea and image obedient to Christ.

Former Liberty University professor David Appleby and Dr. Ed Murphy have discovered the difference between oppression and possession is often interrelated.  Case studies, research and personal encounters by each of these men have brought some light to this taboo topic.  As progress continues in this area of spiritual warfare, maybe one day the church will be more open to this serious matter.  For now, anyone who desires to walk the less traveled road, Matthew 7:13-14, must put into practice Matthew 26:41 to ward off the daily schemes of the evil One, Ephesians 6:11.

by Jay Mankus

Sin City

When the average America hears a title like Sin City, Las Vegas often comes to mind.  If a city prides itself on the motto, “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” its pretty apparent that this desert destination is endorsing an immoral and sinful life style.  In an age of instant information, you don’t have to live in Las Vegas to experience temptation.  According to Dr. Ed Murphy in his chapter entitled, “What is Happening to Me,” sin engages individuals on 3 levels. by their flesh, through the world and spiritually, Ephesians 2:2.  Murphy takes this one step further, claiming evil seduces people from within, externally and supernaturally, assaulting the human mind.

The apostle Paul in his letter to a teenager pastor, claimed to be the greatest sinner of all, 1 Timothy 1:15.  Romans 7 contains Paul’s personal struggle with his own flesh, resulting in numerous sins, hampered by an inability to do what is right, Romans 7:15-20.  In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Paul refers to either a physical ailment or spiritual attack on his own body.  Most Bible scholars believe Paul had a medical condition or an illness similar to colitis.  Meanwhile, a few, going out on a limb, think Paul was struggling with a fleshly addiction.  Either way, if one of the godliest leaders of all time could not contain his own flesh, then every Christ follower today will endure a similar battle.

Jeffrey Dahmer was a normal child until he began to study pictures in the Sears Catalog.  Like a sponge, his mind began to crave more images, leading to an addiction to pornography.  Present in almost every check out counter in America, the world fed this habit which would darken his heart and consume his soul.  The flesh combined with the temptations of the world persuaded Dahmer to indulge in shameful acts, Romans 1:24-27.  These conditions served as a catalyst to lead Jeffrey to become a serial killer.  Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family Ministries interviewed Dahmer before his execution on death row, revealing information the main stream media does not want to believe.

Unfortunately, the third and final attack on human being is the least known, unless of course you commit murder and want to claim insanity.  From my own experiences over the last 29 years trying to walk by faith, sin can play tricks on your mind.  When I have been closest to the Lord, God continued to expose the sin living in my life like the apostle Paul.  However, when I drift away from God, I am blinded, 2 Corinthians 4:4, thinking and telling others that I am doing fine!  Based upon trial and error, if you are on the verge of a spiritual break through, the devil will send as many demons as possible to stop you in your tracks.  Yet, if you are lukewarm in your faith, you are left alone, as your own flesh and the world keep you from being a real spiritual threat.  Thus, as you wrestle for control over your body, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 and dodge the worldly idols around nearly every corner, Acts 17:16, dust off the armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes, Ephesians 6:11.  Remember this, whatever is stored up for heaven, will stay in heaven, Matthew 6:20.

by Jay Mankus

Brain Freeze

Two of my favorite beverages are Slurpees from 7 Eleven and Arctic Rushes from Dairy Queen.  If you drink either of these 2 frozen treats too fast, there is a chance you might experience a brain freeze.  However, there is only one speciality shake which almost certainly guarantees a brain freeze with every sip, the Orange Freeze from Charcoal Pit.

While brain freezes are usually a summer time occurrence, they are much more common than you think.  Physically brain freezes are obvious to diagnosis as shooting pain reaches your brain as your body cools too quickly creating a shock like effect.  Spiritual brain freezes occur when Christians withdraw back into sinful habits.  Instead of staying alert and disciplined, individuals allow their minds to wander, freezing the presence of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:17.  This trance like state leads to a darkened understanding, hardened hearts and a futile mind which rationalizes any lustful act that you might pursue, Ephesians 4:17-20.

Our enemy, the devil has been using brain freezes to deceive people since the Garden of Eden, 2 Corinthians 4:4.  Although conditions may vary, there is a cure to spiritual brain freezes.  According to the apostle Paul, the first step to recovery is to let Christ renew your mind, Ephesians 4:23.  A spiritual transfusion is necessary to rid your memory of all guilt, shame and sin, Colossians 3:1-4 by replacing this with the holiness and righteousness of Christ, Romans 13:14.  This process does not occur overnight.  Rather, it is gradual as you renew your mind with the word of God and worship, Romans 12:1-2.  Stay the course and be sober so that you mind will thaw from Satan’s grip, warming up with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

by Jay Mankus

Wrestling with the Unknown

Ephesians 6:12 contains a Greek wrestling match known as a pale.  This is the only place in scripture where this word appears.  Like most wrestling matches, the goal is to throw your opponent.  Victory is determined when a wrestler is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon their neck.  The winner is haled while the loser has both of his eyes gouged out.

The context of this passage is at the beginning of Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”  The actual verse means our pale is not against flesh and blood, meaning our wresting opponent is not human beings, those we interact with on a daily basis.  Rather, our opponent is 4 fold: 2 groups we can see and 2 groups we can sense.

Our spiritual wrestling match begins with rulers of the world Satan uses to accomplish his will.  The second opponent is with existing authorities which attempt to strip away the spiritual freedoms of Christians.  This second group of opponents involve spiritual discernment and prayer to counter attack these forces.  The first unseen opponent are powers of darkness in our world and the second are spiritual forces of evil, demons.

Every day, there is a new wrestling match.  Satan’s goal is to blind us from the real battle, to throw us off the spiritual scent.  This is often accomplished by causing us to get angry, become bitter or hold grudges against other human beings.  Be careful not to be deceived, test everything and hold fast to God’s Word.  When you are wrestling with the unknown, walk by faith, not by sight!

by Jay Mankus


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