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Confidence, egos and pride tend to convince individuals that they can handle anything that life throws their way.  With success, this mindset gradually leads people to become self-reliant, trusting in their own strength and abilities.  And yet, these factors create the perfect storm, setting the stage for a demonic attack on the unguarded.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

The human mind is an accessory, a willing accomplice.  As the mind is a giant sponge, able to record and store millions of pieces of information throughout your life.  Some of this content triggers fond memories of former relationships, places or things.  Meanwhile, other events can expose or uncover secret scars, a painful remainder of nightmares from your past.  Subsequently, anyone who starts a day without the covering of prayer or a support system is vulnerable to invisible attacks known as spiritual warfare.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold, Ephesians 4:26-27.

After a great first month of 2016, I’ve found myself falling back into careless patterns.  Any type of apathetic manner allows on open door for the Devil to come back into and torment your life.  This is why addiction, bad habits and unguided souls experience so much pain and remorse.  If you find yourself in this precarious situation, going through life unguarded, its time to create a war room, a place of prayer to prepare you for Satan’s schemes.  Like the old American Express Ad campaign, don’t leave home without it.

by Jay Mankus


Jumping to Conclusions

Gossip can be a compulsive hobby for those who indulge in the grapevine.  When you add an inquisitive mind to this equation, information can be misinterpreted.  Subsequently, individuals often jump to conclusions based upon their desired outcome.

And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” – Mark 3:22

Shortly after he began his earthly ministry, Jesus gave the religious leaders plenty to talk about.  Healings and miracles created a huge following.  However, once Jesus began to perform exorcisms, that was taking this faith thing too far.  Unable to comprehend Jesus’ power, teachers of the law started a rumor, assuming Jesus was the prince of demons in disguise.

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. – Mark 3:25-26

If you have ever lived in a small town, drifted off the beaten path or don’t correct misleading reputations, you too will find yourself part of an exaggerated story.  A month before leaving my youth pastor position in Columbus, Indiana, people claimed that I said the world was coming to an end.  While studying the Book of Revelation, certain individuals began to improvise causing some of my friends to buy into these lies.  In view of this, the next time you feel an urge to jump to a conclusion, make sure you test everything you hear, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, before you pass on information.

by Jay Mankus



You Are What You Think: Champion or Loser

Self fulfilling prophecy refers to one’s positive and negative expectations of an upcoming event which influences a person or group in a manner toward fulfilling their expectations.  The optimistic individual will tend to keep a good attitude regardless of the circumstance often resulting in a positive outcome.  Meanwhile, pessimists become flustered by the littlest trial, over acting like a drama king or queen, pushing pitiful souls toward disaster.  If you’re not careful, you can become what you think, unless of course the mind of Christ resides within you, 1 Corinthians 2:16.

One of the greatest examples of this theory goes back to 1993-94, coaching high school basketball in Indiana.  Except for our center, 6’4″ 250 pounds with hops, we didn’t have a team which intimidated others by our size.  However, each player grasped their defined role, shared the basketball and developed a hunger for victory.  During the regular season, we finished undefeated, never trailing for a second, tied at the outset of each game before taking a quick lead, usually by double digits.  In the city championship semi-final game, a last second 3 pointer by our opponent sent the game into overtime, before winning comfortably by 6.

However, the finals were a different story, disrupted by the host team’s fans, we never got into a flow for the game.  Facing our first deficit of the season, my team was down by 10 early, cutting the lead to 8 by halftime.  Like the locker room speech in Remember the Titans, our players wanted to remain perfect, without a blemish on their record.  Little by little, my team widdled the lead down to 2 points in the final minutes.  When we tied the game at 57, we needed one more defensive stand to have a shot to win.  After a solid defensive rebound and timeout, my team set up for one last shot.  Packing in their zone to take away our big man, we replaced our power forward with an extra shooter, our 6th man.  Though our best shooter missed with 3 seconds left on the clock, a long rebound to the weak side provided just enough room for our sub to float into the air to catch and tap in the miss before the buzzer sounded.  We believed and were crowned city champions.

In life, people are gifted in different areas.  Whether one is blessed in academics, athletics, drama, music or wisdom, you become a champion or loser within your mind.  Sure, there are various degrees and levels in each field, but the battle for success lies in your own mind, James 1:5-8.  The storms, waves and whitecaps in life will knock you down from time to time, leaving a sour taste.  Yet, don’t let a defeat or loss turn into a lifestyle.  Rather, guard your heart, Proverbs 4:23 and take your thoughts captive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 so the memories of losing will be demolished.

by Jay Mankus

Sin City

When the average America hears a title like Sin City, Las Vegas often comes to mind.  If a city prides itself on the motto, “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” its pretty apparent that this desert destination is endorsing an immoral and sinful life style.  In an age of instant information, you don’t have to live in Las Vegas to experience temptation.  According to Dr. Ed Murphy in his chapter entitled, “What is Happening to Me,” sin engages individuals on 3 levels. by their flesh, through the world and spiritually, Ephesians 2:2.  Murphy takes this one step further, claiming evil seduces people from within, externally and supernaturally, assaulting the human mind.

The apostle Paul in his letter to a teenager pastor, claimed to be the greatest sinner of all, 1 Timothy 1:15.  Romans 7 contains Paul’s personal struggle with his own flesh, resulting in numerous sins, hampered by an inability to do what is right, Romans 7:15-20.  In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Paul refers to either a physical ailment or spiritual attack on his own body.  Most Bible scholars believe Paul had a medical condition or an illness similar to colitis.  Meanwhile, a few, going out on a limb, think Paul was struggling with a fleshly addiction.  Either way, if one of the godliest leaders of all time could not contain his own flesh, then every Christ follower today will endure a similar battle.

Jeffrey Dahmer was a normal child until he began to study pictures in the Sears Catalog.  Like a sponge, his mind began to crave more images, leading to an addiction to pornography.  Present in almost every check out counter in America, the world fed this habit which would darken his heart and consume his soul.  The flesh combined with the temptations of the world persuaded Dahmer to indulge in shameful acts, Romans 1:24-27.  These conditions served as a catalyst to lead Jeffrey to become a serial killer.  Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family Ministries interviewed Dahmer before his execution on death row, revealing information the main stream media does not want to believe.

Unfortunately, the third and final attack on human being is the least known, unless of course you commit murder and want to claim insanity.  From my own experiences over the last 29 years trying to walk by faith, sin can play tricks on your mind.  When I have been closest to the Lord, God continued to expose the sin living in my life like the apostle Paul.  However, when I drift away from God, I am blinded, 2 Corinthians 4:4, thinking and telling others that I am doing fine!  Based upon trial and error, if you are on the verge of a spiritual break through, the devil will send as many demons as possible to stop you in your tracks.  Yet, if you are lukewarm in your faith, you are left alone, as your own flesh and the world keep you from being a real spiritual threat.  Thus, as you wrestle for control over your body, 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 and dodge the worldly idols around nearly every corner, Acts 17:16, dust off the armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes, Ephesians 6:11.  Remember this, whatever is stored up for heaven, will stay in heaven, Matthew 6:20.

by Jay Mankus

Deja Vu

This morning I awoke to an awkward feeling’, like I am reliving 2001 all over again.  Unlike Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, my life has become synonymous with the classic Yes song Roundabout written by Jon Anderson and Steven James Howe.  Instead of going on vacation to a lake in the mountains, I have completed a 12 year cycle which has brought me back to where I was in 2001.

The eerie sensation known as deja vu has been attributed to the paranormal, neurological disorders and our own understanding of human recognition memory.  From a psychological perspective, the brain fluctuates between 2 different types of recognition memory: recollection and familiarity.  When our mind processes the here and now, it can trigger emotions from previous times in our past, identical or similar to what we are currently undergoing.  Thereby, producing the phenomena deja vu.

I believe people are born to do certain occupations and professions in life before they die.  Like Doc Graham in the movie Field of Dreams, if he decided to play professional baseball his entire life, he would have never impacted people like he did as a doctor.  In the same way, God has made it painfully clear in 2012 that God has designed me to be a teacher.  The events of 9/1/01 paved the way for me to become a Bible teacher for a decade.  Now I am waiting to be rescued from a pile of debt, shattered dreams and a wounded heart.

Emergency workers, fighter fighters and police who laid down their lives on that  fateful day, ran into the World Trade Center as others were fleeing the scene to save as many people as humanly possible.  Likewise, as Jesus’ disciples tried to fight for his life in Matthew 26:51, Jesus surrendered, laying down his life as a ransom to pay for my sin, Matthew 20:28.  Although I may not be where I feel called at this moment in time, God can, has and will lead me to where I need to be.

by Jay Mankus

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