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When the Physical Interferes with The Spiritual

Whenever an individual makes a decision to fast for a set period of time, the Evil One will attempt to play tricks with your mind. Instead of concentrating and focusing on the inspiration for your fast, the Devil can make believers miserable until their fast is finally broken. In the passage below, Jesus reveals three ways Christians are tempted: physically, mentally and spiritually.

Then Jesus was led (guided) by the [Holy] Spirit into the wilderness (desert) to be tempted (tested and tried) by the devil. And He went without food for forty days and forty nights, and later He was hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [loaves of] bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God, Matthew 4:1-4.

Prior to beginning his earthly ministry, the Holy Spirit led Jesus to withdraw into the wilderness for forty days. Hunger pains is the first temptation Jesus faced, offered food by the Devil. Thus, whenever you do decide to fast, spend time reading and studying the Bible in place of your regularly scheduled meal. This should help overcome physical cravings for food. At least for the first day or two.

And going a little farther, He threw Himself upon the ground on His face and prayed saying, My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire. 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, What! Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak, Matthew 26:39-41.

The night before Jesus was betrayed, Jesus withdrew with his disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus urged his disciples to watch and pray so that they wouldn’t be ensnared by temptation. Despite this plea. Jesus found his disciples sleeping. Jesus used this failure as a teachable moment, “the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” As I begin the second day of my Esther Fast, physical desires are interfering with the spiritual. Yet, if I follow Jesus’ advice in Matthew 4:1-11, the Spirit can and will prevail.

by Jay Mankus

The Place of the Unknown

Getting lost can take on many forms.  Your GPS device of choice may lead you astray.  The place where you are in life is puzzling with few who have experienced this or understand.  Meanwhile, the various stages of parenting can be challenging, often unsure of what to do next.  These are just some examples of entering the place of the unknown.

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them, Matthew 13:15.

Jesus uses a parable based upon farming to describe the place of the unknown.  One of the reasons why people are in the dark spiritually is due to calloused hearts.  This condition is fueled by stubbornness, preventing individuals from picking up subtle clues from God.  This lack of clarity, discernment and insight hinders people from escaping darkness.

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.

The conditions, environment and surroundings in which you live often dictate the direction you will go in life.  While there are always exceptions to this rule, soil types restrict the overall harvest of farmers.  Obstructions like rocks, sticker bushes and weeds entangle the healthy.  Careless acts can damage, harm or uproot spiritual foundations.  In view of this hazardous threat, may the power of the Holy Spirit inspire believers to seek fertile soil for the soul.  By doing this, you will discover the way out of the place of the unknown.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Developing a Peak Vision

Last Sunday, I made my way toward Sharp Top Mountain, the second highest point in the state of Virginia.  After church my family took the 30 minute ride toward the summit.  The closer I drove to the mountain, the more challenging this climb became.  The longer I gazed at the peak, the less confident I grew, doubting if I had the strength to make it to the top.

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.

The parable of the weeds relates to my 1.6 mile hike.  Around every corner, above each rise and over the various hairpin turns, distractions lurk.  Fear, pain and time whisper ideas of stopping or quitting before you reach your desired destination.  Unless you possess a peak vision, the human mind will allow temptation to steal your joy of accomplishment in life.

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful, Matthew 13:22.

My younger son Daniel set the pace on the trail, filled with excitement the closer we got.  His energy keep me going, placing any temporary aches and pain on hold until we arrived.  Meanwhile, an hour behind, my oldest son James and niece Rachael prodded my wife, unwilling to let her quit before reaching the summit.  While this journey made me aware of my poor condition and overall shape of my body, the moral of this blog is that sometimes you need others to push you along the way until your peak vision is fulfilled.

by Jay Mankus

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