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Fighting a Battle You Can’t Seem to Win

The apostle Paul says the same thing to two different churches. In his letter to Galatia, Paul reveals a troubling reality about human beings that is taboo, often swept under the rug. Meanwhile, Paul takes this premise and applies it to his own personal life within a letter written to the Church at Rome. Based upon Paul’s confession in Romans 7, Paul was fighting a losing battle.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). 17 For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. 18 But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law, Galatians 5:16-18.

Paul’s initial passage serves as guide for what to expect. The internal war is a battle for human souls as fleshly cravings seek to shut down any supernatural attempts to take over your body. Unless you’re outgoing, this invisible war go on 24 seven, 7 days a week without most people paying attention. Only when evil begins to win or good triumphs will family and friends take notice of your rise or fall.

For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[b]which my moral instinct condemns]. 16 Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it. 17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me, Romans 7:15-17.

At the end of Romans 7, the apostle Paul comes to a conclusion. Without Jesus via the Holy Spirit working in your life, mankind is doomed. The symptoms of fighting a battle you can’t seem to win are on display daily. Some signs are more obvious than others. Nonetheless, as human beings go through life using trial and error as their guide, reach out to Jesus so you can start winning those battles that you’ve lost in the past.

by Jay Mankus

Christless

Seinfeld was one of the first sitcoms to mock Christmas, establishing Festivus for the rest of us.  Meanwhile, Jewish holidays weren’t exempt as Saturday Night Live, known as SNL, created their own version of Hanukkah sung by Adam Sandler.  At one point in American culture, certain topics were taboo, to avoid offensive language.  However, a growing trend has erased the line eliminating boundaries, opening up every religion to verbal attacks except for Islam.

When you subtract the presents, songs and exchange of gifts, what else remains?  Sure, there are decorations, lights and manger scenes, but is Jesus still Lord of this holiday?  Or has the good news of a Messiah been X-out by cards too cheap to print the reason for masses across the country and throughout the world?  As I look around the roads, shopping malls and desolate streets, cheers of good news is a rare sound.  Rather, complaining, gripes and moodiness fill the air, opening the door for another Christ-less season.

If political correctness continues to be a guiding light for Americans, I’m afraid the days of Christmas may soon be over.  In a recent interview, Christian singer Chris Tomlin vowed he’d go to jail if celebrating Christmas ever became illegal.  For those who think, “that would never happen here,” don’t be so sure.  For whenever a nation curses Israel or harms their ability to remain free, God promises to curse those countries that don’t stand with God’s chosen people.  In the Silent Nights that remain, may the Holy Spirit touch your heart, persuading you to invite Jesus back into your home, neighborhood and perhaps local schools.  If not, Christmas will be another day for the homeless and orphans, waiting for a brighter day.

by Jay Mankus

The Great Fortune Teller

crystal ball photo: Crystal Ball Crystal_ball.jpg

Modern fortune tellers rely on crystal balls, horoscopes, psychics and tarot cards to predict information about a person’s life.  At the turn of the first century, there was a girl from Philippi, a city on the north shores of the Aegean Sea, who possessed a powerful spirit.  According to Acts 16:16, she was purchased by a group of businessmen who greatly profited from her ability to predict the future.  While unknown, apparently this young girl was tired of being enslaved, reaching out to the apostle Paul by interrupting his ministry, Acts 16:17.  Thus, Paul was left with no choice, casting out the demon within her along with this special ability, Acts 16:18-19.  Although this girl was delivered from her bondage, Paul and Silas received a night in the slammer for their efforts, putting the slave owners out of the fortune telling business, Acts 16:19.

Today, fortune telling is considered taboo for many Christians to discuss, especially within evangelical circles.  By squashing debate on this topic within churches, people are overlooking the greatest fortune teller of all time.  In the gospel of Mark alone, Jesus is a perfect 21 for 21 without counting the same category twice.  The Holy Spirit, poured out upon Jesus during his baptism in Mark 1:12 enabled God’s son to read hearts, minds, motives and thoughts.  In addition, Jesus predicted betrayals, conversations, foresaw shortcomings, future events and reactions of his disciples and religious leaders.  A prophet may be perceived as getting lucky if they go lets say 3 for 3 on predictions.  Yet, once you foretell 21 future events exactly as they occur, luck is taken out of the equation.

I think one of the main reasons the Bible is under attack by college professors, scrutinized by the media and considered obsolete by Naturalistic Scholars is due to fear from within that Scripture does foretell the future.  Based upon Revelation 20:7-15, in the end, Satan loses, the Book of life will be opened, each person will be judged according to what they have done on earth and God’s sheep will be separated from the goats who will spend eternity in hell.  Though only the Father knows the date, year and time of day, Mark 13:32, the future is pretty obvious.  Use your talents that the Master has given you on this earth while you still have time, Matthew 25:14-30, before Jesus’ eminent return.

by Jay Mankus

Fortune Telling References:

Mark 2:8-11, 18-20, Mark 4:37-40, Mark 5:36-41, Mark 6:4-6, 38-44, 48-52, Mark 7:6-13, Mark 8:16-21, 31-32, Mark 9:17-29, 31-32, Mark 10:22, 32-35, 41, Mark 11:1-7, 17, Mark 12:38-40, Mark 13:32, Mark 14:6-9, 12-16, 18-21, 24-25, Mark 14:30-31, 42, 62, 66-72.  All verses are from the New International Version of the Bible.

I Can’t Believe It’s Real!

When I visit my parents over Christmas, my viewing habits usually change, watching a show that one of my sisters, mom or dad enjoys.  On an evening several years ago, my older sister and I began watching an A&E marathon of Cold Case Files.  Though intrigued by the technology, nothing in the first few episodes grabbed my attention.  As I was about to call it a night, a quote from a detective from California blew my mind;  stating emphatically, “yeah, demonic forces are behind many of the serial rapist and killers in our state!”

The context of this statement was in reference to a confession made by a serial rapist and murderer who had recently been detained by police.  According to this man, when he was 13, he was seduced by a demon in a dream.  After many reoccurring dreams, he began to follow a voice in his head to first rape females; then over time kill women after raping them.  Instead of saying the devil made him do it, he said, “a succubus made me do!”  In the awkwardness of the moment, my sister and I looked at each other thinking, I can’t believe that’s real!  At the conclusion of this case, I ran down stairs, entering my parents’ computer room to prove this non-sense wrong.  What I found, changed my perspective on the spiritual realm.

Like the latest State Farm Commercial, you have to be careful about the sites and sources you reference and research on the internet.  Places like Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary and Occult websites can cloud your judgment as well as fill your minds with unwholesome images.  The Meriam-Webster dictionary gives the most accurate account revealing Incubus as male demons who tempt woman into having sex when they sleep and Succubus as female demons who tempt men when they sleep.  However, I wanted to go deeper than a definition to see if there were any case studies or real life encounters that appeared credible.  In my initial search, I discovered 3 with historical documentation.  My findings suggest what some law enforcement officers already believe; there is a direct correlation between demonic forces and violent crimes like rape and murder.

Over my 29 years as a Christian, its clear there are several topics considered taboo for churches to address from the pulpit.  According to Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family Ministries, roughly 25 % of all pastors in America, struggle with some form of pornography.  If one of these men or women tried to speak out by confessing their sin, most if not all would have their positions terminated.  Thus, sexual issues like Incubus and Succubus are never mentioned, swept under the rug with all the other controversial issues.  I’m not a biblical scholar nor do I claim to be one, yet it appears Incubus and Succubus fall under the category of spiritual forces of evil mentioned in Ephesians 6:12.  My objective for this piece is not too promote panic each time you go to bed.  Rather, I want each person to be armed with the power of God’s Word, the Bible, so that you will successfully take your thoughts captive as you sleep, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Remember the promise of 1 John 4:4, “Greater is He who is in you than is he who is in the world!”

by Jay Mankus

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