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Evading Demons of Doubt

In the context of war, evasive maneuvers are employed by starship commanders to evade enemy weapons fire. Whenever planes are under attack, these tactics involve a sequence of defensive movements to escape a direct hit. During a scene from Independence Day, Bill Pullman who plays president Thomas Whitmore and former fighter pilot uses evasive maneuvers during an alien attack.

“Now when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through waterless (dry, arid) places in search of rest, but it does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So will it also be with this wicked generation,” Matthew 12:43-45.

In the spiritual realm, its hard to respond to something that you can’t see. To those who are spiritually awake, the presence of demons can be sensed. However, there are certain steps that individuals can take to evade demons of doubt. The passage above eludes to sweeping your spiritual house clean. This involves setting your heart and mind on things above, not on earthly things. The apostle Paul uses this mental approach to evade demons, scars and ungodly beliefs from your past.

Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God, Colossians 3:1-3.

Yesterday I was talking to a coach during my kids golf match. Unlike most sports, the game of golf can become extremely frustrating. One hole you can look like a professional and the next like you have never touched a golf club before. This mental anguish provides an open door for demons of doubt to creep in. Unless you follow the advice of the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 whispers of “I can’t” will bombard your mind. Therefore, if you want to avoid demons of doubt, make sure you take your thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Pressing On

Sometimes life can resemble a Little League Baseball game.  You get off to a great start, feed off of momentum and develop a big lead.  Just as you are about to taste victory, a bad break halts your progress.  One thing leads to another resulting in an avalanche of disappointment.  Before you know, the tables are turned as you find yourself on the losing side.  At some point, you have to pick your head up, shake it off and press on to see another day.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1.

If your life was transposed on to a graph chart, there would be a series of peaks and valleys.  As individuals experience various phases in life, beliefs, practices and values may change.  Such is the case of Rock star Bob Dylan who began to search for meaning in life during the late 1970’s.  This journey spawned the album Slow Train Coming, a reflection of his encounter with God.  One of the singles Dylan created was entitled Pressing On, a prayer for those struggling to press on in this life.

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.

Unfortunately, many who begin a relationship with God often end up falling away.  According to the passage above, Satan is the force that stops people from pressing on.  Centuries earlier, King Solomon urged the nation of Israel to guard their hearts, Proverbs 4:23.  The apostle Paul takes this concept one step further by taking your thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  If you truly want to persevere following setbacks in life, take this biblical advice so that you will press on.

by Jay Mankus


The Pull

The gravitational force is the weakest of the four fundamental forces of nature.  Newton’s law of gravity refers to the force between two bodies in proportion to its mass and distance.  This pull is invisible to the naked eye unless of course you are doing something like skydiving.  Another pull also exists, a tug of war between the human flesh and the Holy Spirit.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want, Galatians 5:17.

The Christian group Curious Fools sings about the passage above in their song entitled Pull.  This soft rock classic has inspired drama teams to illustrate the message of the lyrics in the attached you tube.  Whether you are disciplined, focused or organized, anyone is susceptible to the pull between the cravings of the flesh and prompting of the Holy Spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit, Romans 8:5.

The apostle Paul examines what goes on within human beings as this pull commences.  The mind is like a trigger, leading you in one way or the other.  Thoughts serve like a steering wheel, guiding you in the direction of your desires.  Perhaps, this may explain Paul’s obsession with the heart and mind in his letters, Colossians 3:1-3.  If you don’t want to be pulled the wrong way any longer, begin by taking your thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ.

by Jay Mankus


Resisting Evil Desires From Within

Meteorologists use barometers to measure atmospheric pressure.  Since pressure can be used to predict short term changes in the weather, barometers reveal a glimpse of future events.  While weather forecasts remain inconsistent despite high tech equipment, those with the gift of discernment tend to have a higher success rate.  If this is true, perhaps there is a barometer of the soul.

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.

During an extended stay in Ephesus, an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, the apostle Paul makes an astute observation.  When defeat, failure and trials occur, many people focus on external factors as the cause.  Paul disagrees claiming there are invisible forces to blame, dark, demonic and supernatural forces attempting to steal your joy in life.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul, 1 Peter 2:11.

Peter provides another perspective, likely reflecting upon his public betrayal of Jesus in the verse above.  Certain desires can be overwhelming, wearing you down over time.  Before you know it, temptation lures individuals to act in direct contrast with their morals causing a war against your soul.  Warning others not to fall into this trap, a barometer of the soul is essential to escape evil desires from within.

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it,” Genesis 4:7.

The mind is like a human computer, created long before Serry and Elexia.  Prior to killing his brother, God was able to read Cain’s thoughts.  Troubled by what he is thinking, the Lord lays out Cain’s dilemma, sin is crouching at your door.  Likewise, today individuals must rule over evil thoughts with biblical truths, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  Success is achieved through taking your thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.  Any other means will ultimately lead to indulgence.  In view of this, meditate on God’s Word daily to purge yourself from evil desires from within.

by Jay Mankus


Don’t Be Afraid… Just Believe

A little over a year ago, I laid in an emergency room, surrounded by doctors, interns and nurses ready to perform an unusual surgery.  Before receiving drugs to kill the pain and put me asleep, a part of me thought, this could be the end.  Gasping for breath with two broken ribs, a collapsed lung and internal bleeding, my faith was waning.

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – Mark 5:36

When in the presence of doubt, pessimism and unbelief, Jesus remained positive.  Instead of accepting the inevitable, Jesus took faith to a new level.  As a twelve year old girl passed away, Jesus removed everyone from the house except for the girl’s parents and his inner circle, Peter, James and John.  This set the scene for an environment for healing.

He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”) – Mark 5:41

Depending upon your current situation, complainers, whiners and skeptics abound.  If you’re not careful, these opinions can spoil your mood or poison your mind.  As Tin Cup, played by Kevin Costner once said, “everyone will face defining moments where you can define the moment or the moment will define you”  When these days and situations arise, follow in the footsteps of Jesus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe!”

by Jay Mankus

Turning Distress into Rest

If you’ve ever had one of those days; then you know how I felt last night when I came home.  Restless, my frustrations began to boil over, spewing out venom fueled by annoyance and irritation.  Replaying this in my mind, over and over again, I allowed distress to interrupt my ability to sleep.

Like a scene from a horror movie, I sensed the clutches of demons taking over my mind, inspired by hatred and revenge.  Before I let my thoughts get out of control, I cried out to the Lord, rebuking the images racing through my head, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  This tug of war went on for nearly 15 minutes, drifting back and forth, with huge momentum swings.  Finally, as the noises around me started to dissipate, God turned my distress into rest.

When I awoke the next day, I stumbled across Psalm 107:6.   “Then, they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he (God) delivered them from their distress.”  Perhaps, a coincidence?  I don’t think so!  Rather, I believe the Lord let this night of turmoil occur so that I could remind the world that God can turn distress into rest, a deep peaceful sleep.

by Jay Mankus

Bent But Not Broken

From a biblical perspective, bent refers to someone who goes off in a different direction, beyond the boundaries set by the Word of God.  Instead of staying on the straight and narrow, individuals stray onto the interstates of life, Matthew 7:13.  As a result, minds become bent out of shape, leaving crooked choices and twisted thoughts along this road.

Fortunately, God has left a map for the lost in the form of the Bible.  This summary of history helps individuals learn from past mistakes that Israel and other followers made, 1 Corinthians 10:1-6.  Like an addict on the road to recovery, being straightened out can be a long and grueling ordeal.  Psalm 106:43 recounts how Israel was bent on rebellion despite being delivered by God time after time.

The first step toward revitalization is acknowledging your sin, James 5:16.  Once you reach this point, the Psalmist urges believers to cry out to the Lord, Psalm 106:44-45.  While all fall short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23, Jesus was sent to die on our behalf, settling the debt we had accrued.  Thus, despite being bent further than you initially planned, God’s promises have kept people from complete brokenness, Psalm 34:18.  Where there is a will, there is a way back to the narrow path, Matthew 7:14.

by Jay Mankus

Watch Your Ways

When I was a freshman in high school, I was privileged to be asked to attend my first party by a sophomore.  While I had a crush on this girl at the time, something in my heart told me not to go.  Thus, as half of this party was being arrested for under aged drinking, I was subbing for my parent’s Friday Night bowling league.  On this night, I could do no wrong like a blessing from above, bowling my best single game, 199 and three games series, 570.  I knew I was in the right place as my first poor shot of the evening hit 3 pins initially, before somehow turning into a strike.

Psalm 39:1 illustrates a similar principle with 3 directions for life.  First, King David shares the importance of watching your ways.  This includes how you spend your time, the friends you choose, places you go and entertainment decisions you make.  If I rejected my initial gut feeling, my entire high school experience and career path might have changed.  Fortunately, my parents had raised me up in the church, which has provided guidance and wisdom along the way.

Second, David warns others to keep their tongue from sin.  The most common temptation in schools and the workplace is gossip and or slander.  However, if you steer clear from this, anger can also encourage evil words to roll off your lips.  In addition, envy, jealousy and pride may inspire venomous words, attacking others, often in the form of a word curse.  Like the apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:5, the best way to keep your tongue from sin is by taking your thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ.

Finally, the king ends Psalm 39:1 by emphasizing the need to put a muzzle over your mouth.  Slightly different from the tongue, I believe David is referring to your conversation.  Jesus talks about adding flavor to others by what you say, Matthew 5:13.  Paul adds to Jesus’ words by stressing the need for grace in Colossians 4:6.  Even Peter, who struggled with this area throughout his life adds a reminder for gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15-16.  Therefore, whether you want to change your way, tongue or mouth, if you put God’s word into practice, Matthew 7:24, eternal blessings will follow.

by Jay Mankus

The Mind Magician

Unless you are an anomaly, everyone has done at least one thing in life that you regret.  Most people have committed numerous things which have been stored up within their conscience.  The mind magician uses guilt to trigger shame in your soul, serving as a dark cloud, looming over your thought life.  Meanwhile, the dead works known as past sins can haunt individuals, replaying in their minds with similar consequences.

stock photo : The war with the dragon. 1) Le Sainte Bible: Traduction nouvelle selon la Vulgate par Mm. J.-J. Bourasse et P. Janvier. Tours: Alfred Mame et Fils. 2) 1866 3) France 4) Gustave Doré

Performing the same card trick over and over, Satan forces millions of people to relive sins they’ve already been forgiven of by God.  Tiny voices create doubt by suggesting, ” a real Christian would never do such a sin!”  Still upset by Jesus’ miraculous third quarter come back, Satan’s fate is sealed.  Nonetheless, the Great Deceiver is willing to throw the kitchen sink at your brain, hoping to take as many souls as possible with him.

The Great High Priest has a spiritual potion in Hebrews 9:14 to cleanse your conscience from dead works.  The apostle Paul has left further instructions to snap you out of any spell, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, cast by the mind magician.  Unfortunately, many are bewitched today, like the Galatians in chapter 3, verses 1-5.  Therefore, put on the helmet of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, as one of the last lines of defense.  Devote yourself to prayer, Colossians 4:2, submit to God, James 4:7 and the mind magician will be forced to flee.

by Jay Mankus

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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