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Understanding Demonic Oppression

When the Coronavirus began to spread throughout the United States back in March of 2020, relatively unknown doctors became instant celebrities. While Dr. Anthony Fauci received most of the attention as the media’s darling, Dr. Oz was a regular guest panelist on cable news and talk radio. Depending upon their area of expertise or practice, these physicians tried to educate the general public on understanding the dangers of COVID-19. Although their advice varied, I learned the best way to stay healthy involved getting 7-8 hours of sleep and staying hydrated daily.

And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom last? For you say that I expel demons with the help of and by Beelzebub. 19 Now if I expel demons with the help of and by Beelzebub, with whose help and by whom do your sons drive them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.20 But if I drive out the demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has [already] come upon you, Luke 11:18-20.

When it comes to understanding demonic oppression, one of the best sources comes from a first century doctor named Luke. Beside his daily practice, this man sought to become a historian. As Luke began to hear about and see miracles that defied science, eagerness to record these details inspired two books. During a personal account with Jesus, Luke details a powerful spirit referred to as the strongman. Within this parable, Jesus suggests that a person freed from demonic oppression is not completely safe, Rather, if these individuals are careless, reverting back to former sinful practices, demons can return with more powerful tormenting spirits.

When the strong man, fully armed, [from his courtyard] guards his own dwelling, his belongings are undisturbed [his property is at peace and is secure]. But when one stronger than he attacks him and conquers him, he robs him of his whole armor on which he had relied and divides up and distributes all his goods as plunder (spoil). 23 He who is not with Me [siding and believing with Me] is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me [engage in My interest], scatters. 24 When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it roams through waterless places in search [of a place] of rest (release, refreshment, ease); and finding none it says, I will go back to my house from which I came. 25 And when it arrives, it finds [the place] swept and put in order and furnished and decorated. 26 And it goes and brings other spirits, seven [of them], more evil than itself, and they enter in, settle down, and dwell there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first, Luke 11:21-26.

In a chapter to the Church at Rome, Paul reveals his own demonic oppression, experiencing periods where he was unable to control his body, Romans 7:15-18. This baffling ordeal left Paul scratching his head, unable to break free from sinful desires. Beside Galatians 5:16-18, Romans 8:5-8 highlights an external battle that occurs within everyone’s soul. While many try a form of teetotalism, the practice of complete abstinence, Jesus reveals that certain spirits can only be removed via prayer, Mark 9:26-29. Although the book definition of demonic oppression is the work of evil spiritual forces that urge us to sin, deny God’s word, feel spiritually dead, and to be in bondage, few see this for what it is, Ephesians 6:12. While I’m not an expert on this topic, there is a lot more to life’s decisions than the “devil made me do it.” Thus, further study the Bible if you want to fully understand demonic oppression.

by Jay Mankus

Lurking in Darkness

The term lurking means to remain hidden, waiting for the perfect time to ambush someone or something.  Whether an animal is preying on a lesser member of the food chain or a bully picks on a weaker individual, each attack if often unexpected, catching the victim off guard.  As a result, predators remain active today, searching for those alone, separated from society, lurking in darkness waiting to pounce on an innocent soul, 1 Peter 5:8.

Unlike Hollywood, the devil doesn’t have horns, a pitch fork or has steam coming out of his ears.  Rather, this spiritual creature is as sly as a serpent, slithering up on someone without any hints or warnings.    Like a chameleon, Satan is able to duplicate angelic acts, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, similar to the magicians during the days of Pharaoh, Exodus 7:11.  Thus, when you hear in the news of another saint giving into temptation, committing the unthinkable act, the great deceiver was likely the root cause, convincing minds that wrong is right or okay.

You and I aren’t immune as any misstep can lead to a decision that will ruin your reputation.  While David beat Goliath once, devilish Goliath’s are nearly undefeated, dragging their victims into sin, one compromise at a time.  Its no wonder the apostle Paul includes 1 Corinthians 10:11-12 as a precursor to prevent anyone from becoming overconfident.   As the mysteries of the future will be played out tomorrow, make sure that you are ready for enemies who continue to lurk in darkness, Ephesians 6:11.  Remember great is He who is in you than he who is in the world, Romans 8:38-39.

by Jay Mankus

Victim or Victory?

Victimization has been present since life began in Genesis 1.  King Solomon confirms this by his statement in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  Blaming circumstances for failures or mistakes instead of taking personal responsibility for your actions has been a way of life since Genesis 3 when life began in the Garden of Eden.

Eve was the first to rationalize her lack of obedience by saying the devil made her do it, Genesis 3:13.  Meanwhile, Adam had the gall to blame God for his failure to follow God’s only law, “the woman you put here corrupted me”, Genesis 3:12.  Unfortunately, this pattern continues today as people deflect attention to a scapegoat or group of people, passing the buck and blame like modern politicians.  Has society embraced the role of playing the victim or are there a few people remaining who have the perseverance to be victorious in life?

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, the apostle Paul reveals a secret scar from his life.  According to Romans 7,  this spiritual wart appears to be similar to an addiction, bad habit or an area of Paul’s life that he lost control of, Romans 7:15.  Instead of being content with being a victim of his own flesh, Paul fights through this condition like an athlete training for a race, 1 Corinthians 9:27.  Victory is not found in an actual contest, but through a spiritual state of mind, Romans 7:24-25.  Therefore, if you are like Paul, needing to be set free from a harmful craving of your flesh, look up to Jesus who has the power to rescue you from your situation, 2 Peter 1:3-4, giving you everything you need in life in the form of the Holy Spirit!

by Jay Mankus

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