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Watch Out for Parasites

Kirk Cameron and Erin Bethea star in the 2008 film Fireproof.  Cameron plays Caleb Holt, the captain of a local fire station who has allowed his job and pornography addiction to ruin his marriage.  After his wife files for divorce, Caleb is sent a diary called the Forty Day Challenge by his father to help save his marriage.  On day 23, the theme is watch out for parasites.  These words convict Caleb of this bad habit, prompting him to destroy his computer with an aluminum baseball hat.  This moving clip should urge individuals to begin to examine their own lives to see if any parasites are currently on the prowl.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly, John 10:10.

A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism.  These minute creatures feed off of its host, deriving nutrients at the host’s expense.  Similar to a leech which feeds off of human blood, these pests can drain, sap and wear on your soul.  If action is not immediately taken, parasites will destroy, kill or steal any joy that you have for life.  In an analogy about a shepherd watching over his sheep, Jesus refers to a thief who seeks the destruction of others.  This is what parasites do, taking pleasure in feasting on the exploits of others.

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

If you read passages like Job 1, Satan is a spiritual parasite who relies on demons to do his dirty work.  Spirits of depression, fear and loneliness cause individuals to drift apart from their support systems.  Once isolated, demonic parasites prey on these troubled souls, resulting in tragedies like the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.  After talking to his lawyer, Nikolas Cruz confessed to acting upon voices within his mind to shoot up his former school.  While the national media’s attention is focused on banning guns and addressing mental illness, no one is talking about the powers of darkness that inspired this senseless act.  May this week’s unfortunate events serve as a warning to watch out for parasites.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Self-Preservation

When I was in high school, mowing the yard was part of my weekly chores.  Since there was a creek in my backyard, I often dodged snakes, toads and other wildlife.  On one occasion, I got too close to my father’s garden, clipping the edge of a hornets nest.  Acting out in self-defense, I was stung several times despite running away in self-preservation.

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace, Ecclesiastes 3:8.

This same concept applies to politics.  In order to get elected, individuals try to be all things to all people.  Along the way, candidates have to raise money, pledging to remember donors if elected.  Nonetheless, eventually every person on the ballad box stumbles upon an issue symbolic of a hornet’s nest.  As soon as this topics is addressed, swarms of critics come out of no where, attacking to insure their self-preservation.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask, James 4:1-2.

When president Donald Trump was elected in 2016, one of his campaign promises was to drain the swamp known as Washington, DC.  While Trump’s brash style, competitive nature and strong feelings has resulted in several self-induced afflictions, he’s actually doing what he said he would.  Whether you agree with Trump’s politics or not, the harder he tries to drain the swamp, an increasing number of political hornets will come out of hiding to attack, attempting to hold on to spheres of influence and power.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, Ephesians 6:11.

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis addresses self-preservation.  Within a chapter on the Law of Human Nature, Lewis highlights 3 objections to this law.  On example refers to soldiers fighting a war.  While murder is one of the ten commandments in the context of “thou shall not,” this atmosphere turns life upside down.  You must kill or be killed causes moral dilemmas for those who serve their country.  Subsequently, the desire to live will continue to urge individuals to act out in the spirit of self-preservation.  Like the hornets in my illustration above, may the Lord use self-preservation to help people see the big picture, a world doing whatever it takes to survive.

by Jay Mankus

A Congested Mind

At this time of the year 2 types of congestion appear, one that attacks our body and another which tries our patience.  The text book definition refers to being blocked up or too full of something.  As winter colds begin to develop within heads and sinuses, holiday traffic can elicit fits of anger or road rage.  Either one of these symptoms can result in a congested mind.

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ, Colossians 2:8.

In the other 3 seasons of the year, the mind is under assault by opposing world views seeking to convert you to their ideology.  College professors do this through philosophy, challenging freshman to question their religious beliefs.  Unfortunately, a growing numbers of Christians abandon their faith before graduating, undoing the family values instilled by parents in less than 4 years.  Instead of dealing with this congestion, minds often cave into peer pressure.

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

Today, if you’re healthy, just driving to and from work can give you a headache.  Whether its people with cell phones in their lap talking or texting, its miracle that more people don’t get into accidents.   Anyway, the apostle Paul urges believers to be sober-minded, aware of the schemes of the devil.  If not you will suffer from a congested mind, likely falling prey to an enemy seeking to devour lost and lonely souls.

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

Release Me

After Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles are destroyed by alien space craft in the 1996 movie Independence Day, the president, a few close advisers and another family escape on Air Force One.  Like president Bush on 9/11/01, this president, played by Bill Pullman, search for a safe destination to land.  When Judd Hirsch inadvertently interrupts a staff meeting, his beliefs uncover the truth about Area 51, resulting in a visit to this previously unknown bunker under the desert.  Once Will Smith arrives with an alien whose plane crash landed, the president has his first close encounter shown in the clip above.

The term release means to allow or enable someone to escape.  When an individual or something is imprisoned like this alien, their end goal is to be set free from confinement.  However, when you reason with an alien, demon or evil person, you are unleashing supernatural powers.  Whenever a nation makes a peace treaty with a terrorist or the justice system lets a serial criminal out on parole, the same sinful pattern often continues, returning to the scene of the crime.  This is why Jesus modeled praying to his disciples during his 3 year ministry, displaying how prayer can release souls from the schemes of the devil, Matthew 21:21-22.

Time is an enemy for most citizens of the earth.  Sometimes I feel as if I am always behind, trying to catch up on life, leaving little or no time for prayer.  Instead of concentrating on God the Father like Jesus does in the youtube above, I am distracted by my surroundings.  Thus, I spend more time worrying than I do asking God to release me from the burdens on my heart, Matthew 11:28-30.  Its no wonder than many Christian and seekers of God spend so much of their lives in bondage, addicted and paralyzed by sinful habits.  If you tried everything else without any progress, cry out to God today, relying on His power to release you from the temptations holding you down.

by Jay Mankus

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