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Tag Archives: spiritual weapons

Strength for the Struggle from Within

Mental Health isn’t mentioned directly in Paul’s letters to the Church at Corinth. Yet, beneath the surface, two chapters a part, there are signs of a struggle from within. While writing to a city known for their philosophers, Paul suggests that there is an invisible solution to overcome the mind games that human brains play on fragile psyches. Paul claims that spiritual weapons are the best way to find strength from the struggles within your soul.

For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

Human beings are good at fighting someone or something that they can see. Yet, when flesh and blood become vessels of the Devil to claw, dig and gnaw at you, many fight a losing battle day after day. Meanwhile, demonic strongholds often expand, causing friction and unusual occurrences that can wear down your soul, Ephesians 6:12. If you try to fight this battle alone, oppressive spirits and powers of darkness have the ability to defeat any strong Christian.

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength), 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

This may explain the apostle Paul’s words in the passage above. The context of this verse begins with Paul opening up about a mysterious illness. It’s unclear if Paul was afflicted with a physical or spiritual condition, but he shares this low point in his life. The lesson learned through this ordeal is that the weaker human beings become, the potential for Jesus to be stronger increases. Perhaps, if you get out of the way, Jesus will give you the strength to conquer any struggle from within your heart and soul.

by Jay Mankus

When Satan Hinders and Impedes Your Spiritual Progress

Every day a new set of obstacles arise with the sun. Some of these challenges are recognizable, allowing individuals to easily side step these obstructions. Unfortunately, many of these impediments will come as complete surprises, catching the average citizen off guard and unprepared for what lies ahead for the future. Thus, when the sunsets to end your day, many are left scratching their head mumbling, “how did this happen and why?”

But since we were bereft of you, brethren, for a little while in person, [of course] not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great longing to see you face to face,18 Because it was our will to come to you. [I mean that] I, Paul, again and again [wanted to come], but Satan hindered and impeded us, 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18.

In the first century, the apostle Paul didn’t believe in bad luck. Rather, when strange things started to happen to hinder and impede his most recent missionary journey, Paul blamed Satan. When your spiritual opponent is able to masquerade as an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14, faith must be elevated. If the enemy is the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, it time to start fighting back with spiritual weapons, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour, 1 Peter 5:7-8.

One of Jesus’ disciples shares his own recollection of Satan’s attacks. As Peter was about to celebrate a victorious moment in his life, Matthew 16:16-18, a few moments later everything changed. Peter goes from a spiritual hero to being accused of being on Satan’s side, Matthew 16:22-23. When Satan hinders or impedes your spiritual progress, it’s essential that you take your thoughts captive. Just as Jesus used fasting and prayer to overcome temptation, Matthew 4:1-11, be vigilant so you can withstand the next spiritual attack that you’ll face. When you draw near to God, the Devil flees, James 4:7.

by Jay Mankus

What is Real or Just a Dream?

Brain scientists aren’t exactly sure why humans dream, but research suggests this has something to do with memory. A recent Healthline.com article refers to the role the human brain plays in processing dreams. “Dreaming might help the brain eliminate any unnecessary information or memories while processing and storing what’s important.” Vivid dreams can be positive or negative, seeming so realistic at times that it’s hard for a brain to determine, “is this real or just a dream?” This is where the natural meets the supernatural.

For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah). 14 And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light; 15 So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. [But] their end will correspond with their deeds, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

In a letter to the Church at Corinth, the apostle Paul suggests that Satan can masquerade as an angel of light. Another letter refers to Lucifer as the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2. When you put these elements together, Incubus and Succubus enter the picture. Incubus are male demons, spirits that visit sleeping women at night and enter their dreams to have sexual intercourse with them. Succubus are female demons that use fantasy and allure, creating a sexual experience that appears to be real before waking up. If you have undergone something like this, you have to consider the apostle Paul’s advice below.

For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

There are some battles in life that require spiritual weapons. Beside putting on the armor of God, Ephesians 6:11, your mind has to be focused on the eternal. If you want to stand up and prevail against the schemes of the Devil, taking your mind captive is essential. Whenever a Christian allows their mind to wander, you open the door for Incubus and Succubus to enter your dreams.  Continued sexual relations with demonic spirits can lead to deterioration of health and sexual addiction. If you want to be able to distinguish dreams from reality, put on the helmet of salvation daily, Ephesians 6:17, so you can see clearly in the future.

by Jay Mankus

Challenging Demons

While channel surfing last weekend, I stumbled upon Destination America’s new show called the Demon Files.   This reality series features Ralph Sarchie, a former NYPD sergeant who has become a renown demonologist with his team who visit people experiencing paranormal activity.  In the episode I saw, Ralph was challenging the demon or spirit inside a haunted house.  Although I don’t know much about this realm, I do know you should be careful who or what you challenge.

And he said to them, “This kind of spirit cannot be driven out by anything but prayer,” Mark 9:29.

Several years ago I attended a Bible Study when a guest pastor visited for a couple of weeks.  Fascinated by his testimony, I began to ask this man questions about the spiritual realm, trying to collect insight into this arena.  To my surprise, he shared about an elder who attempted to challenge a demonic presence in New England.  Without enough prayer support or others to intervene, this man ended up in an insane asylum.  Following his release from the hospital, this elder left the church, struggling to grasp what happened to him.

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

Perhaps this may explain why most seminaries avoid spiritual warfare, focusing mainly on theology.  Beside demons confronted and cast out by Jesus, there isn’t much information in the Bible about challenging demons.  The apostle Paul emphasizes the armor of God, fighting evil with spiritual weapons as well as making sure you don’t give the devil a foothold.  Nonetheless, Paul’s best advice is to test everything, avoid evil and cling to the truth.  When you encounter powers of darkness in the future, make sure you surround yourself with prayer and others believers before you confront or challenge demons.

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

 

 

Losing Your Edge

Staying on top, being the best at any job, skill or trade isn’t easy.  If you are fortunate to reach the summit of a profession, there is always someone new, stronger or younger ready to take your position.  In the film Top Gun, Cougar was the number one fighter pilot in his squadron before a mid-air altercation with a bogey caused him to lose his edge.  Thus, Maverick played by Tom Cruise and Goose, Anthony Edwards, were waiting in the wings to take over.

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?” – Mark 7:18

In  the first century, the twelve disciples were the Cougar among spiritual leaders.  Although Luke 10:1 refers to 72 others, a minor league for training to become elite disciples, these twelve men were chosen to be part of Jesus’ flight school.  Nonetheless, their exposure to Jesus’ miracles, teaching and wisdom caused their hearts to become numb.  Thus, Jesus goes off on their flawed thinking, trying to reprogram their minds set on human traditions.  When Judas Iscariot lost his edge, committing suicide following his betrayal of Jesus, Matthias was selected to take his place in Acts 1:26.

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” – Mark 7:21-23.

Today, America’s churches is searching for a new Top Gun, to soar above the sinful nature lurking to attack hearts.  This internal battle has caused many great rising stars to crash and burn before reaching their full potential, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6.  In the skies, there are spiritual bogeys, demons, evil spirits and powers of darkness hoping to shoot you down.  Despite these adversaries, Jesus has equipped his crew with spiritual weapons, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  May the leaders of the future be armed, 1 Peter 4:1, with the right stuff to maintain their edge fueled by strength in Christ,  Philippians 4:13.

by Jay Mankus

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