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Tag Archives: the fear of God

A Reason to Reconsider

Imitation is a response by an observer or observers who replicate another’s behavior. This can be viewed as a form a flattery when the originator sees others coping a dance move, expression or unique style. One of the nicknames Jesus received during the first century was the Great Magician. Jealous of Jesus’ great healing powers, religious leaders began to refer to Jesus as an illusionist, performing miracles in the name of Satan, Matthew 12:24. Despite these claims, Jesus’ ministry inspired others to become faith healers without having a personal relationship with God.

Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also attempted to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I implore you and solemnly command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!” – Acts 19:13

During a trip to Ephesus, Luke details a family of brothers who became Jewish exorcists. This isn’t a scene out of the Exorcism of Emily Rose, a 2005 film. Rather, the sons of Sceva traveled to homes filled with desperate individuals hoping to be set free from demonic oppression and possession. Apparently, this was a viable occupation, making enough money and successful enough to rid souls from imps. Yet, when this crew confronted a legion of demons, all 7 got their butts kicked, barely escaping, fleeing in fear.

This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified and exalted. 18 Many of those who had become believers were coming, confessing and disclosing their [former sinful] practices. 19 And many of those who had practiced magical arts collected their books and [throwing book after book on the pile] began burning them in front of everyone. They calculated their value and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver, Acts 19:17-19.

Like the top grossing horror films of all time, fear gripped everyone who interviewed these brothers or witnessed this assault. According to Luke, the thought of imitating the Christian faith stopped, resulting in a spiritual awakening that spread to practicing witches. Contrite hearts began to purge their lives from anything that attempted to imitate God’s power. Subsequently, magical books worth 50,000 pieces of silver were burned. The fear of God from what happened to the 7 sons of Sceva served as a reason to reconsider previous practices by embracing Jesus as Lord and Savior.

by Jay Mankus

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A Casual Perspective of Grace

Every once in a while I will come across a troubling passage in the Bible.  Separated by a couple of chapters, the author of Hebrews appears to be calling out some Jews who had developed a casual perspective of grace.  Since the culprits are not identified, you can only speculate based upon the context below.  Apparently, some individuals developed a mindset that sinning was okay, especially since God promises to forgive you.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace, Hebrews 6:4-6.

The problem with this mentality is that justification and rationalization often replaces penance.  The purpose of confession is to express a contrite heart by avoiding making the same mistake you made the day before.  Unfortunately, a casual perspective of grace usually leads to deliberate sin.  Willing participants begin to think, “we’ll if God is gong to forgive me anyway, I might as well enjoy myself.”  Believing this lie from the Devil can corrupt souls.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God, Hebrews 10:26-27.

In case anyone skipped over the author’s initial warning in chapter 6, this message is repeated 4 chapters later.  Sometimes the fear of God serves as a last resort, the only thing holding you back from indulging the sinful nature.  However, anyone who becomes spiritually dead due to an addictive behavior can become numb to change.  Thus, unless a friend, loved one or spiritual mentor intervenes, a casual perspective of grace can lead to eternal separation from God.  If this blog finds you hanging by a thread, reach out for help so that healing and restoration can begin.

by Jay Mankus

The History of Abortion

Ancient Egyptians first practiced abortion while the cities of Pithom and Rameses were being built by Hebrew slaves, 1,400 years before Christ’s birth.  When the Jewish population exploded following governor Joseph’s death, Pharaoh issued a decree to Hebrew midwives.  According to Exodus 1:15-16, the king of Egypt told Shiphrah and Pauh to kill every boy born by Jewish mothers, allowing the girls to live.  Caught in a crisis of faith, the fear of God persuaded these 2 woman to follow their hearts, eventually blessed by God with their own family, Exodus 1:17-21.

320 × 240 – asianews.it

Today, nations like China have instituted a similar practice to reduce their population, limiting families to one child per household.  As a result, China leads the world in abortions per year according to an October 2012 report published by the International Herald Tribune.  In 2011, over 13 million babies were aborted in China alone, 6 million by woman under the age of 25.  Meanwhile, during the same year, India allowed 3.5 million unborn children die with the United States adding another 1.2 million to this list.

 

The sad thing about these abortion facts is that schools teach students not to bully, cheat, fight or steal every year.  Yet, before 18 million future students in 3 nations had a chance to breathe their first breath 2 years ago, each was executed in cold blood.  I’m sure the money is good for those doctors and nurses who daily perform these procedures, but the burden and conscience must weigh heavy on their hearts.  Although Pandora’s Box has already been open, made legal by the United States in 1973, think twice before caving into abortion.  Since my mother experienced a miscarriage during her third pregnancy, if I was born 4 years later, I might have been another statistic, a casualty of the history of abortion.

By Jay Mankus

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