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Tag Archives: The human mind

Visual Sewage

The human mind often acts as a sponge, absorbing information that you hear, learn and understand.  Meanwhile, Jesus refers to eyes as the lamp of your body.  These head lights serve as a guide through life; a vehicle that when functioning properly enables individuals to dodge the visual sewage that exists in this world.  One of the greatest dangers to your soul is pornography, tempting your eyes to embrace the human flesh by gratifying your sinful nature.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,” Matthew 6:22.

There is a ministry that exists to combat the urge to lust.  Covenant Eyes provides resources for internet accountability and filtering to protect the innocent, pure and young.  Yet, the internet isn’t the only place where visual sewage resides.  Pornography lurks in your mailbox with questionable catalog images.  On Halloween night modesty will be pushed aside for more sexy costumes.  Demonic forces, oppression and powers of darkness seek to destroy souls through visual sewage present on any cell phone.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols, Acts 17:16.

The Greek word κατέιδωλον appears only once in the Bible within the passage above.  This term is translated into English meaning full of idols.  The residents of Athens embraced gods and goddesses, erecting altars throughout this ancient city.  Some of these places of worship were dedicated the goddesses of love, encouraging the practice of prostitution and sexual orgies in the name of love.  Essentially, Paul was greatly distressed by this visual sewage.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul provides advice to combat this dangerous addiction.  Corinth is located in Greece, likely placing members of this congregation into this cesspool of sin.  Ignoring this negative environment wasn’t an option.  Thus, Paul steers believers toward using spiritual weapons, relying on God’s power to demolish demonic strongholds.  Victory is achieved through taking your thoughts captive.  This process begins by meditating on God’s Word so that when evil arises, you are able to take captive every thought.  If a current environment of visual sewage is overwhelming you, flee by purging yourself from any reminder of pornography so that your thought life will become obedient to Christ.

by Jay Mankus

The Mindset Behind a Miracle

In the last 25 years, sports psychology has impacted professional sports.  Individuals, star players and teams have sought help to reach their full potential.  Based upon books that I have read and from my own personal experience, the human mind plays a crucial role.  I’ve heard many successful athletes point to visualization, being able to see themselves making a catch, hitting a ball or sinking a putt.  When belief, faith and your mind intersect, the recipe for a miracle is set.

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed,” Matthew 9:21.

The are two examples in the Bible of people who shared a common mindset.  Each sought medical help for a serious condition without any signs of improvement.  They came to the realization that spending money on doctors was a waste of time.  Thus, when word of a miraculous religious leader spread, hope came alive.  This good news gave birth to a thought listed in the passage above.  Despite suffering from a bleeding disorder for twenty years, this woman cast out any hints of doubt.  Eager to find Jesus, this resolve set the stage for a miracle to occur the moment she touched Jesus’ cloak.

When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”  “Yes, Lord,” they replied, Matthew 9:28.

The final story refers to a pair of blind men.  Unlike the woman mentioned above, neither of these men could see.  Thus, they were forced to raise their voices once the commotion of Jesus passing by intensified.  Desperate to see, both began to shout, rising above everyone else in the crowd.  Recognizing their plea for mercy, Jesus had compassion on both men.  Like a doctor performing a preliminary check-up, Jesus asked one simple question, “do you believe I am able to heal you?”  The unswerving mindset within each led to another miracle.  The key to experiencing similar results today lies untapped within the mindset behind a miracle.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

Dreams Unlike Any Other

One of the least studied areas of the human mind is the power of dreaming.  Sometimes dreams are influenced by something you experienced, heard or saw earlier in the day.  This is the case of Julia Ward who passed by Union soldier’s singing a song about John Brown’s body on her way to the Willard Hotel.  The next night Julia Ward had a dream where the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic came to here.  This was truly a dream like any other.

For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear, Ecclesiastes 5:7.

When I was in college, I attended a local accountable group in Newark, Delaware.  While this group rotated homes on and off, we began meeting at my friend Eric’s house.  There were occasional nights where individuals drifted off on tangents, but most evenings I tried to stay on task, holding people to the promises and vows made the prior week.  On one particular evening, I couldn’t resist adding my own two cents, “why do you keep giving the same lame excuse time after time.”  That night I had a dream that I was in a bookstore.  When I turned the corner, I saw a book with a title exactly what Eric needed to help improve his quiet times with God.  Later that week, I went to look for some new music at a nearby Christian bookstore when I actually lived my dream.  Except, in this case as I turned the corner I bought this book, sharing my supernatural experience the following week.

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;” Acts 2:17.

According to a first century doctor, the Holy Spirit will usher in a future time where people of all ages will experience dreams and visions.  Although no exact time is mentioned, an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit will be the sign from heaven.  I won’t speculate whether this time has passed or is yet to come, but I will not limit what God can do.  Whether it’s the inspiration for a famous song or a call to action to help a friend,  I can’t wait to pass on the next amazing testimony about dreams unlike any other.

by Jay Mankus

The 12 Vibes to Spiritual Discernment

 
In a world of vanishing absolutes, civil citizens, good behavior and honesty are nearing extinction.  Instead, people are blaming bad luck, extreme circumstances and a poor economy for their crude and rude habits.  If there was ever a time to access solid advice, the 12 vibes of discernment are available to help steer you in the right direction.  Conceived by the Extra Ordinary Faith Bible Study curriculum, this list has been provided below like a check list used to process information before you accept or decline advice for life.
1. Your Conscience
This first vibe is indirectly mentioned in Galatians 5:16-18.  When the apostle Paul refers to the acts of the sinful nature being obvious, he is likely referring to the built in vibe God has placed within the human mind.  Whenever guilt expresses itself in a “I shouldn’t be doing this moment,” your conscience is trying to tell you to drop the forbidden fruit you have tasted.
2. Godly Influences
While not easy to find in a society filled with hypocrites, “do as I say, not as I do,” this second vibe requires effort on your part to seek out people who have experienced similar trials in life.  When you find the right person, you will be drawn toward ideal conditions like a young Samuel who needed Eli to point him toward God, 1 Samuel 3:1-10.
3. Knowledge and Vision
When a person loses their sense of purpose in life, depression, hopelessness and missteps often follow.  According to one of the minor Old Testament prophets, people perish, destroyed by a lack of knowledge or vision depending upon the translation you use, Hosea 4:6.  These 2 attributes help individuals see the big picture, bringing their life into focus, communicated by an encourager or optimistic leader you need to invest your time hanging around.
4. Reading the Bible
On the outside, the Bible appears like any other book.  However, this special collection of history contains supernatural powers, living and active according to Hebrews 4:12.  In fact, faith comes from hearing and or reading this book, Romans 10:17.  This instructional guide for life provides the human soul with knowledge and vision not found in this world.
5. An Accountability Partner
Like having a personal trainer, its essential to have someone who is blunt, challenging and inspires you to reach your full potential.  However, this suitable helper will take an unswerving desire and countless hours to locate a compatible personality.  This is the most difficult vibe to obtain, yet once established, its the most rewarding, Proverbs 27:17.
6. Through Prayer
Although many new comers to prayer treat God as if going grocery shopping, talking to the Lord at the check out counter, Psalm 34:18 gives any rookie comfort.  Before you start, make sure you isolate yourself in a place without any distractions.  If you stop talking for a moment by listening to God, you might even experience a Mark 1:35-38 like moment.
7. Weeping and Fasting
When prayer appears to stall, some have turned to weeping and fasting, Nehemiah 1:3-4.  In a sense, this is taking prayer to the next level, crying out to God with emotion, following in the footsteps of David, Psalm 4:1.  For those unable to fast, the Daniel Fast, eating only fruit, vegetables and water for 21 days should suffice.  As your heart is broken by the things that break God’s heart, this vibe will likely result in answers, discernment or both.
8. Accessing the Holy Spirit
Unfortunately, most men are like me, not wanting to read the directions of gifts they have to assemble.  On the other hand, first time mothers taking their newborn back home face a similar challenge, “what do I do know?”  The phenomena known as spiritual wisdom is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, accessible through the mind of Christ, Ephesians 2:6-8.  When you pray the promise of 2 Peter 1:3-4, the power of the Holy Spirit can be unleashed in your life.
9. Divine Intervention
At your weakest moment, God has a history of sending angels to the rescue, like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:6-9.  Missionary testimonies are filled with amazing encounters with angelic forces sent to save their lives or minister to them, Matthew 4:11.  The power of prayer can usher guardian angels into action, protecting God’s people from the schemes of the devil.
10. Through Meditation
Unlike New Age and Yoga practices, Christian meditation refers to concentrating on and memorizing the Bible, Joshua 1:8.  The best cure for sin is living according to God’s principles by hiding scripture within your heart, Psalm 119:9-11.  When you practice the words of Romans 12:1-2, God’s will for your life becomes clear and attainable.
11. During Worship
If you have ever reached a point of desperation, there are examples of believers who encountered God while participating in worship services, Acts 13:2-3.  Whenever you add fasting or prayer to this equation, God’s vibes are dialed in like having 4G.
12. Through Dreams
Whether your experience is like a book or a movie, when all other measures appear to fail, God uses angels or a still small voice to communicate his message through dreams, Matthew 2:13; 2:19-20.  As you test everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, to make sure your dream is relevant, you should be able to use these spiritual vibes as a measuring stick for discernment.
by Jay Mankus

Where Do We Go Now?

 

In recent years, great advancements have been made in business, medicine and technology.  Self help books, the internet and you tube videos have helped make life a little easier than in previous centuries.  However, these new resources have also crippled the human mind, replacing hard work, research and time with a click of a mouse.  The art of problem solving, trouble shooting and preventative maintenance have been replaced by computer and phone apps, calling on others to do what families once did on their own.

So where do we go from here?  Should culture continue on its current hi-tech / hi-touch path or will common sense take over, clearing hidden paths, left and forgotten by overgrown brush?  If this decision is put off, another crossroad will intersect at some point down the road, offering another choice for change.  In the movie the Patriot starring Mel Gibson, there is a touching scene between father and daughter.  Not wanting to see her father to die like an older brother, Susan begs him to stay.  Unfortunately, there are times one must face battles, giants or wars before you can resume a normal life.

If your life is anything like mine, I often find myself living the movie Castaway, standing at a 4 way stop, not sure where to make the next turn.  Each choice that is made, Deuteronomy 30:15-16, either moves you closer or farther from where you really want to go.  For a while, each will provide flashes of brilliance and possibly pleasure, yet in the end only one road leads to satisfaction, Psalm 34:4-8.  May we find each other there one day.

by Jay Mankus

Escaping the Dungeon of Doubt

Although their initial origin is disputed, the word dungeon is likely derived from the Frankish term dungjo, referring to a vault, a concealed and hidden space.  By the 14th century, the English developed underground prisons within their castles also known as oubliettes due to their typical shape and design.  According to Genesis 41:14, prisoners went without bathing or shaving, stuck in a living hell hole on earth.  In Joseph’s case, he was waiting on God for more than 2 years to set him free.

Today, these man made structures have been replaced by an invisible pit, deep inside the human soul.  Formed by doubt, this dungeon is like a haunted house, creepy, dark and void of hope.  When an individual appears to be reaching the top of this hole, disbelief and skepticism often hinder progress as the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, maintains his grip, holding a saint in bondage for yet another day, Ephesians 6:12.  While self conceit and doubt wrestle for control, a life filled with disappointment serves as dark clouds, blocking any rays of optimism, paralyzing a believer from fully escaping.

Like a patient receiving medical attention, nightmares, scars and seeds of doubt linger after your release.  The human mind serves as a sponge, absorbing the trauma you have endured, playing tricks on you once freed from the devil’s talons.  Thus, one needs a spiritual reboot, cleansing all the viruses you have been infected by through the word of God, Colossians 2:6-8.  The Bible presents people with truth serum, replacing doubt with faith, Romans 10:17.  While not fully healed until heaven, Psalm 119:105 introduces curious onlookers to the only full proof escape route from the dungeon of doubt.

by Jay Mankus

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